Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Donate to Support Clarendon High School Math Students

I hesitate to send this out because it will open the floodgates to the other thousands of teachers on this email list to send me similar appeals…but I’m a sucker for things like this (especially from a TFA corps member!) so I’m sending it out (and just donated $250). Jeremy, let me know when you and your students are coming to NYC and I’ll set you up with various cool things. If I can’t get Bill Clinton to meet with hard-working high school students in town from Arkansas, I’ll eat my hat!

Mr. Tilson,
I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Jeremy Rogoff.  I am a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, and last year I joined Teach for America. I was placed to teach high school mathematics and Spanish in Clarendon, Arkansas, part of the Mississippi Delta region. I've subscribed to your email lists since I joined the corps, and they're always an energizing outlet as I continue my work in the classroom. Currently in my second year, I am intent on taking my 10th grade students on a trip to experience life outside the Delta and see how their hard work can apply to the real world. My students and I have chosen New York City.
The students participating in the trip are the best and brightest Clarendon has to offer. 100% of them passed a high-stakes end-of-course Algebra exam last year (more than 90% scored proficient or above), surpassing the state average by more than 20%. Not only will this trip serve as intellectual stimulation, but also good practice at creating a budget and raising money. Students have taken on jobs, worked at school fundraisers, and organized their own fundraisers to save up for the trip. In the process, they have learned the values of hard work, perseverance, and careful planning.

The students and I are passionate about this trip. As you know, New York is a world-class city that must be experienced first-hand—nothing beats walking along the High Line, exploring Manhattan’s neighborhoods, and taking in a Broadway show. My students must know what this is like. The majority of them have never traveled the 62 miles to Memphis or 65 miles to Little Rock, much less to a city like New York. This trip would mean the world to them. While my students are working extremely hard to make this trip a reality, some face severe financial challenges. Clarendon High School is located in Monroe County, Arkansas, one of the 100 poorest counties in the United States, and 6thpoorest in Arkansas. The per capita income for the county is a mere $13,096, and 44% of children under the age of 18 live in poverty. Even with family support, none of the students can pay for the trip out of pocket. Fundraising helps, but in a rural county that is poor and sparsely populated, it can’t cover the entire cost of the trip.

Therefore, I am hoping you can help us by unleashing the power of your network. In only five months, we have raised more than $27,000, and have $13,000 remaining to reach our fundraising goal. These students need support in their effort to attain a better education and a broader view of the world. Any amount will help us make it to New York this June. By promoting NYC Bound 2013, you and other supporters can have a positive, substantial impact on the lives of deserving young people. You can donate online at If you prefer to donate by mail, you can send checks to the address below.

Many Thanks,

Jeremy Rogoff
Math Department
Clarendon High School
316 North 6th Street
Clarendon, AR 72029
P.S.—Below is an article from today's Arkansas Democrat Gazette, which featured my students and their efforts to make it to New York City. I hope you will take the time to learn about their inspiring efforts.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A small group of students gathered on a recent afternoon inside a Clarendon High School math room to talk about a planned field trip to New York City.

White boards, test papers and pennants from various universities, including the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University, adorned the drab, white walls and faux-wood paneling. Mismatched desks and chairs filled the small room.

The trip is a celebration of sorts, designed to both enhance the students’ cultural experience and reward them for passing the state’s required algebra examination last year.

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