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Randolph Middle School Students and Faculty Raise Over $1,000 for Autism Speaks

Matthew Salerno

Monday, June 23, 2014 • 11:39pm

RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Middle School Social Club and School Learning Consultant Megan Wechsler presented an Autism Speaks representative with a donation check of 1,172 dollars on Monday, June 16.  Wechsler and her students worked extremely hard and raised the money in the month of April through pin sales, carnation sales and teachers wear blue week.

The students put in hard work during their own time, including sometimes skipping their lunch periods to make pins to sell for two dollars each.  “I saw motivated students working collaboratively for the common good,” said Wechsler, “I feel we can all learn something from them.”

Wechsler works with students who are on the Autism spectrum frequently and has her own reasons why the donation and work is important to her.  “I see the support they, their parents and their educators need to help them be successful in an out of the classroom.  Autism Speaks provides support to individuals and families with autism,” said Wechsler, “I see the great things they do in my students.”

The Random Acts of Kindness club at the middle school used its annual carnation sale to sell blue carnations and raise money to support the cause the social club took on.

The students also took on an active role in educating some of the faculty about the teachers wear blue week fundraiser.  The students gathered the faculty, and with the school’s support, introduced a week where the teachers could wear blue jeans to work in exchange for donating five dollars to the cause.

Autism Speaks is a world renowned organization that advocates treatment and support for those with autism.  The money that the students donated will be going towards research kits with info for families that have a child with autism and camps for kids with special needs to enjoy themselves according to the Autism Speaks representative.

Each of the students had their own reason to dedicate such hard work to the cause; many of them had their lives touched by autism in some way.  David Gontarski gets inspiration from his mother, who is the district behaviorist, and wants to follow in her footsteps to help those who have special needs.

“The thing most important to me personally is knowing that you’re helping someone have a better life, and their family too,” said Gontarski.

As a group, the students and staff decorated and customized their own puzzle pieces to make a poster that symbolizes autism awareness.  “To me, the puzzle pieces are a symbol of autism awareness and represent the missing pieces of our knowledge about what autism really is,” said Gontarski.

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