A group of students at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick is running a GoFundMe campaign and organizing a 24-hour livestream to raise money to replace the school’s letterboard sign with a flashy new LED sign.
“We’re trying to focus on an area that TJ kind of needs help in, which is staying up-to-date technologically,” said senior Cooper Gurrie, who is organizing the fundraiser with his friend Samyak Jain. They are presidents of the school’s Future Business Leaders of America organization.
“A goal that would be reachable would be replace the sign with a new, electronic sign, because there are a lot of signs in the area that ... get so much information out to their community and the people driving by," Gurrie said.
An LED sign would allow different groups to showcase information and give new and current students at the school something to take pride in.
While the GoFundMe is already up and running, the livestream is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 7 a.m. The stream will have different segments featuring students and teachers from the school doing a host of activities, including a "Jeopardy"-like game, energy drink tasting and interviews and games with teachers.
The GoFundMe campaign -- which has a goal of $18,000 -- notes that the high school was built in 1966, adding, “As new schools have been built and received more funding, TJ’s facilities and buildings lagged behind the advances of modern technology of other schools.”
The aim is to raise money while still being safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the livestream is a way to offer entertainment to the community.
Already, about $2,000 to $3,000 have been raised for a new sign, though not all of the funds are reflected online because some money also came in the forms of payments such as checks, the organizer said.
“It takes the whole community to raise something like this,” Gurrie said, noting they’ll continue to work toward the group’s goal for as long as it takes to raise enough funds.
As for what it’s like to have people so willing to help with the livestream and participate in the event, Gurrie said it’s been really cool.
“Especially when we reached out to teachers and told them about our idea, they’re just so excited to be a part of it,” he said. “They’re just really into participating in something that can give back to the community.”
Because GoFundMe allows donors to list their names, the campaign also adds a level of transparency about who’s running the fundraiser and who’s involved in the project, including students, staff and alumni.