Athens High School student congress co-adviser Dina Chrisopoulos, left; students Angela Yuan, Rachael Eads, Alicia McCallum, Hailey Abro, Kayla Goddard and Lauren Hanoosh; and student congress co-adviser Shawn DuFresne iron out some last-minute details.

Athens High School student congress co-adviser Dina Chrisopoulos, left; students Angela Yuan, Rachael Eads, Alicia McCallum, Hailey Abro, Kayla Goddard and Lauren Hanoosh; and student congress co-adviser Shawn DuFresne iron out some last-minute details.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Charity abounds at Athens High School

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 6, 2018

 Abro discusses carnival night and community passes.

Abro discusses carnival night and community passes.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

TROY — While classes will continue as usual, pies will fly, “bail” will be posted and pennies will be pinched during Athens High School’s Charity Week Feb. 12-16. 

The Athens High School student council spearheads the annual Charity Week, and Athens teachers Dina Chrisopoulos and Shawn DuFresne serve as co-advisers. DuFresne said Charity Week started 30 years ago. Last year it raised over $155,000 for the Jenna Kast Believe in Miracles Foundation, a Troy-based charity the Kast family started after Jenna passed away in 2010 of brain tumors. Jenna would have graduated from Athens High School last year. 

This year’s recipient is Detroit Street Care. 

According to its website, Detroit Street Care provides health care to homeless people in Detroit through the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

More than 25 charitable groups applied to be the beneficiaries of Charity Week.

Student congress president Lauren Hanoosh said students believe that “relatable” charities are the easiest for which to raise funds. 

Charity Week will feature popular favorites, including Jail‘n’Bail, which allows students to place “warrants” on themselves, their friends or their teachers to be “arrested” and placed inside a “jail.” 

“Every student is eager to get out of class,” Hanoosh said. She said some teachers assign projects or tests for classes as added incentives for students to get arrested and excused from the assignment. She noted that one teacher has “bailed out” his whole class before. 

Other events include a pancake breakfast, a volleyball tournament, the Mr. Athens Pageant, a pep assembly, a film festival, a teacher dance contest, a parent cook-off, a magic show, a talent show, a carnival, a dance and a pie throwing event. 

New this year, students will sell tickets to an after-school painting activity designed to be a fun way to relieve stress. A carnival night will take the place of the former game night. 

Senior Hailey Abro said the student congress reached out to various sports teams and clubs to include everyone in the pep rally.

DuFresne said all 56 members of the Athens student congress, as well as an executive committee, have been planning Charity Week since October. 

“This week wouldn’t be possible without all 56 members,” Hanoosh said. 

“Charity Week is so cool,” said senior Rachael Eads. “It’s not meant to be just for athletes or popular kids. We try to get more and more clubs involved. We all come together for one goal.” 

“All the cliques in high school dissolve (for Charity Week),” said Alicia McCallum, a senior. She said the catchphrase around the school during that week is “Come on, it’s Charity Week.” 

DuFresne said Charity Week wouldn’t be possible without the “very supportive teachers and administrators that allows us this week. Staff and administrators get excited about it. This gives kids an opportunity to come together and give beyond themselves and allows them to make a difference.”  

 

Helping the homeless
Dr. Richard Bryce, of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, said Detroit Street Care formed three years ago. It comprises college students, faculty advisers and doctors. 

Former Athens High School students who now attend the college urged the organization to apply to be the recipient of Charity Week funds. 

Bryce — grateful for what he believed would be a $2,000 donation — was surprised to learn what Charity Week has raised in recent years. 

This year’s Charity Week goal is to raise $100,000.

He said student volunteers for Detroit Street Care are learning how to take care of patients who lack resources and who may have other social issues. 

He said the volunteers started with “street runs,” serving the homeless and those with limited ability to get to appointments. He said the organization is working to cultivate relationships with organizations in Detroit to provide other resources, not just medicine: food and housing — factors that have “just as much impact on health.” 

“It’s about finding people who need help and giving them resources,” Bryce said. 

He said that 20,000 people are homeless on the streets of Detroit, some living under bridges or in alleys, and there are 8,000 beds in Detroit shelters. 

Bryce said he was struck by the “energy, passion and enthusiasm” of the students he saw in videos of last year’s Charity Week when he visited the school in December. 

“I feel so fortunate and lucky and so thankful for them for thinking of us,” he said. 

For a list of days and times of activities open to the public during Charity Week, and the costs for students and passes for the general public, visit athens.troy.k12.mi.us. 

People can donate to Athens’ Charity Week by sending checks to Athens High School, 4333 John R Road, Troy, MI 48085. Checks should be made out to Troy Athens High School, and people should write “Charity Week” in the memo line. 

For more information on Detroit Street Care, visit detroitstreetcare.org.