Charity Ball…now what?

An Open Letter to Student council

The roar of Charity Ball always comes with a deafening wake from our very own Student Council. For two months, we spend every second scrolling through social media, every morning announcements, and every dollar from our paycheck supporting Enloe Charity Ball, and by proxy, Enloe Student Council. We fawn over the greatness of these student leaders and show them unwavering support as they raise thousands of dollars for a brand new charity of their choosing each and every year. Then, the culmination of our enthusiasm, Charity Ball. Students walk through the doors of Marbles Kids Museum, adorned in bright jewelry, stunning gowns, and drip from head to toe. Cameras flash, and students dance as though tomorrow will never come. After hours of entertainment, the music dies down, and the check is revealed. Our five pristine student leaders, deemed “the big five” hold it above their heads at the top of the staircase, while students below upload the big reveal to the social media platform of their choosing, with hashtags such as #howevermuchmoneyweraised, #bigdub #eaglewin. By 10 pm social media is flooded with dozens of photos, and the student body spends the next two days basking in the glory of another highly successful Charity Ball. 

For upwards of three months, the Student Council works tirelessly in support of their given cause; whether it be food insecurity, autism awareness or intergenerational poverty, while organizing a stellar dance for the student body. For 14 weeks of the year, Enloe gains a new rep- within the Raleigh area and within the student’s mindset. This group of teenagers becomes a beacon of hope for a better future- and with that, comes an insane level of pressure they must carry during Charity Ball.  From staying after school for hours on end, volunteering at the charities on weekends, even posting graphics on their personal social media accounts, the work of Charity Ball seems to become a burden for many students, who already have homework and activities to account for in their daily lives. It makes sense that after a Charity Ball, there is a notable lul from the Student Council. No longer are we accustomed to the Stuco graphics on social media, or the constant reminders to buy your ticket, but rather a deafening silence from our so-called “student leaders”. 

In no way am I trying to diminish the accomplishments of Student Council. Everyone agrees that stuco has done so much for the community, and we truly do admire you for that. But as each year goes by, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rally around a cause for a different charity when it feels as though our own student body is in shambles- physically and mentally. 

Every day, we see bathrooms without stall doors, water fountains that don’t work. Teachers without projectors, students without lunches, the list goes on and on. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be proud of our schools while seeing such notable problems within our very walls. 

If we dedicated a fraction of what we put into other organizations into our own school, it would go so very far. The Student Council has proved its stellar fundraising and advocacy abilities time and time again. From 50,000 dollars to 200,000 dollars, we know that Student Council is a force to be reckoned with, one that has had an immeasurable influence on the Raleigh community. 

Make sure your home is in order before going to pour money, energy, and resources into others. By making sure Enloe is up to a liveable standard, the student body will become even more invested and excited in giving back to other organizations. For example, if we spent even just one-year raising money for Enloe, and raised a fraction of the money we’ve raised for other organizations in the area, we could update our restrooms, fix our water fountains. We could afford laptops for all students in the classroom, not only ten. We could lower the price of parking, so more students are able to safely park on campus. We could create spaces for underclassmen to enjoy lunch, rather than sitting on the floor of the wet gym lobby or being forced into the crowded cafeteria. These issues have been brushed under the rug for years, but are becoming increasingly worse as time passes and the Enloe student population increases- we must recognize that our current resources are no longer reaching student or teacher demand. 

It isn’t only about the money, -if you just put some of the energy you give to these charities into the school, it would go so far. Advocate for better student counselor relations. Push for longer lunch periods so students aren’t speeding in 25’s just to get to class on time. Make it easier for Seniors to get sick days without risking their exemptions. Plan activities of substance for the Senior class, rather than useless tik tok competitions and poster decorating. Some are going to argue that this isn’t the job of the Student Council, it doesn’t fall under their jurisdiction, and if you want these things so bad, just do it yourself. The reality of the situation is that the general student population does not have the same structural integrity, reputation, or resources as Student Council. Student Council was formed for the purpose of serving the student body, but they seem to stray further from that purpose each and every year. 

Some will claim that the reason why Charity Ball is so successful is due to the organization its supporting, and that donors will have less incentive to give money if it’s “just” for a school. I would point out two things, primarily, is that I am not calling upon Student Council to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school, but rather the amount necessary to allow students to feel safe, clean, and comfortable within the school setting. Secondly, many schools across the county, such as Broughton, Knightdale, and East Wake, have all experienced success in fundraising for their schools, allowing them to support the arts and athletics, senior fees for students, to cap and gown costs. 

What I call upon is for the Student Council to accept the ability for growth, and accept critique towards bettering their organization. With great power, comes great responsibility, and a small step can make a big difference. If Student Council donated even just dedicated one year in every four to giving back to our own teachers, peers, and mentors, it would have an astounding effect on student moral, academic enjoyment, and pride in our school.