Towards the end of our junior year, class sponsor Nick Wirth explained how fundraising during our senior year could help offset costs for our class trip. We wanted to get a head start on our senior class fundraising efforts before the school year started because senior year is full of other obligations like AP classes, sports and performing and visual arts commitments. We also started thinking that we didn’t want it to just be about making money. We wanted to provide some type of service to the larger community and wanted to do something that helped us develop organizational skills and bond as a class because it required maximum participation. As well, we wanted to create an event that future classes could utilize as their initial fundraising event during the summer. As a club basketball player, I have been participating in AAU basketball tournaments for over five years now and could see that doing a tournament at Prep, especially for middle school and ninth grade teams from Santa Fe, Pojoaque and Española could provide for all of these things. At a class meeting, I proposed that we host a basketball tournament, The Griffin Summer Classic, and right away students started volunteering to help.
The tournament required a lot of preliminary work and organization. The most important first step was partnering with the Boys and Girls Club via Roman Abeyta, who very generously provided support for referees, trophies, t-shirts and a lot of the food for our concession because we were providing community outreach for a healthy family oriented activity which coincided with the goals of the Boys and Girls Club. Next, we had student leaders volunteer to run concessions, the entrance fee table and the gym. Kristin Knight, Laura Garret, Gressia Burrola, Jeremy Portillo, Xavier Dominquez, Bianca Gonzales, Christoph Schild, Mike Laposata and Sammie Walimaki did a great job and were there for all three days of the event. Primarily, I ran the court, but I also oversaw many of the tasks, from cleaning up the restrooms to coaching our own entry in the tournament—SFP’s ninth grade boys’ team. That was a highlight for me!
Our class also went out and asked for sponsorships in exchange for advertising at the event. We received several sponsorships from across the community, including Sports Primo, Jim Weyhrauch and Santa Fe Properties, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, Whitegeese Pottery, Design Warehaouse, Peter Brill Inc. and Sarcon Construction, KSWV Radio, Tomasita’s, Santa Fe Prep Booster Club and Pro-Active Chiropractic. We also needed a few adult volunteers during the tournament, and we were really grateful for the help of Javier Dominquez and Octavio Burrola for helping with security, my mom, Paula Castillo, for help in the kitchen, and Ryo Nagae for assistance, especially with our Friday night competitions. The biggest help came from my dad, Terry Mulert, who supported us with a range of things from helping us recruit teams to organizing the brackets.
It was a hugely successful event. We hosted twelve middle school teams from across Northern New Mexico in our little gym and families had a great time. People expressed that this was one of the nicest tournaments they had ever been to because the student organizers were very kind and thoughtful and made everyone feel at home. The championship game was a little tense with competition between two teams who have had a long history battling it out. We were able to diffuse the tension by doing something that Prep teaches us: be generous. We gave a Tomasita’s gift certificate to each coach for the winner’s bracket, and we also set up a table with juice, hot dogs and fruit for the athletes after the game. It helped everyone move on and made everyone feel good about the entire event. The event was also successful because of student participation. We had diverse ways for students to participate, from being a student leader running the concessions, entrance and gym, to volunteering when work schedules allowed, to contributing breakfast food including home baked goods. All in all, we had 90% of our class participate, and those that couldn’t come were out of town. In the end, we met all of our goals. We raised a substantial amount of money to start our fundraising efforts, we attracted families from the region to Santa Fe Prep for a healthy and fun event, our class bonded and developed organizational skills, and we had a lot of fun doing it. We look forward to handing this event off to the class of 2017 next May!
– Francis Castillo y Mulert ’16