Sweet treats reveal sour truths about club funding

The bake sale. The sweet, sweet pinnacle of fundraising. The optimum cash-grab for high school clubs and organizations when the bank account is running low and the next big event is near. When I was a freshman, there was nothing better than seeing a club outside of the cafeteria selling cookies, candy and donuts all for the lowly price of $1.50. But as a senior whose sweet tooth is decaying, it seems like the only thing happening outside of our cafeteria is another bake sale for another underfunded club. 

Why is that? 

Bake sales are, to be quite frank, easy to do. They don’t require much, if any, outside planning; all a bake sale truly needs to be successful is one trip to Jewel-Osco, five different types of sweets, and at least a couple different people volunteering per lunch period and they are easily guaranteed at least 50 bucks. 

However, despite efforts made by clubs and activities to raise money, it can still be demoralizing to know that your club doesn’t get enough recognition in order to get money on its own. Last semester, the rest of the North Star News team and I fundraised for our trips in order to go to Saint Louis in the fall, and last month, we also recently fundraised for our trip to San Francisco that is happening in April. But to be honest, it makes me upset that we had to do it on our own. We are the school’s newspaper for crying out loud; why do we need to prove to the administration how important we are in order to get money??

We are the school’s newspaper for crying out loud; why do we need to prove to the administration how important we are in order to get money??

The amount of fundraising needed is all dependent on how much funding different organizations get from the school. For example, because of the large amounts of trips the Debate team takes annually, they get lots of funding from the school (and certainly for a good reason; the Niles North Debate team is a nationally-recognized program and recently just placed third at state this past weekend). But a club that meets only every other week may not get that same treatment, and thus the bake sale is the only opportunity that presents itself financially feasible. 

Fortunately, clubs have found ways to diversify their fundraising opportunities.  Different cultural clubs, for example, sell foods that are easy to commodify for the large school population. The “World’s Finest Chocolate” boxes that people sell is another successful way that clubs and organizations fundraise without having to do a traditional bake sale (and I’ll be the first to admit that I have bought one too many of those). 

Additionally, the Board of Education has also pledged to bring more awareness to extracurriculars in school. On March 9, incumbent David Ko mentioned at the Board of Education candidate forum that funding for extracurriculars will continue to be a priority of the board. 

“As you have heard, our students, they have a multitude of extracurricular activities. And I have been fortunate to be able to do these things by keeping our taxes low, reducing $200 million in debt, building $100 million in state of the art construction, and just constantly making the community strong,” Ko said.

Despite my rant, what I still want people to takeaway from this is that we are incredibly grateful to go to a school that offers over 100 different clubs and activities to its students. So the next time you see a bake sale, instead of shrugging it off, think about what they are actually fundraising for. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a sweet treat from the next big bake sale may help another kid pursue their passion.