In the fall of 2020, Manchester GATE Elementary School students had a special guest for their online “Groove-a-Thon” fundraiser. Former student Carlos Perez led the students in an exciting online dance program from the comfort of their homes in order to raise money for the school.
Manchester GATE Elementary is a second through sixth-grade magnet school in Fresno, California. It is identified as a “magnet school” because it is composed of gifted students from various districts and areas around Fresno. Students who pass the gifted and talented exam are challenged with grade level projects and courses designed for their special population. Perez was one of these students fifteen years ago and his decision to help out with the fundraiser was welcomed by the staff and families.
“One of the teachers remembered that Carlos does Dance-A-Thon fundraisers on YouTube for local non-profits. We decided to ask him because we knew we had to do something different this year,” said Principal Janet Gengozian. “He is just an energetic guy who is excited to give back to our school!”
Gengozian and school volunteers decided to call the event a “Boove and Groove” because it was held close to Halloween. Students were encouraged to wear costumes while they danced to Halloween-themed music in their living rooms. Parents sent pictures to school staff and posted them on the school Facebook page. Before the big party, students and parents used PledgeStar to collect online donations from family and friends. Students were able to raise thousands by just sending out a few requests each from their personal PledgeStar portal, all without leaving their home!
Manchester GATE is truly a unique school with a diverse student body. Because the students come from several areas in and around Fresno, they differ in socio-economic backgrounds. One thing they all do have in common, though, is that they are both talented and privileged to belong to such a unique community.