RANDOLPH, NJ— As the coronavirus outbreak rages on, Randolph High School students and staff have continued to find new and unique ways to help fight the disease, not only in Randolph but across state lines.
After learning that one in nine people in the United States are currently struggling with hunger, and hoping to help stem the rise of that statistic, juniors Claire Doto and Gilad Krasner-Cohen created virtual cooking classes with proceeds from the classes going toward Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief fund.
“Cooking 4 COVID has been very successful,” Krasner-Cohen said. “So far, we have raised over $900 and had over 60 participants. We have been able to reach students, families and teachers of all ages. So many people have decided to participate, and we have received incredible feedback.”
For Kristin Poff, an English teacher at RHS, the coronavirus crisis became deeply personal when her brother, Lieutenant Kevin Michael Cleave, a naval officer, expressed the dire need for mask extenders at the Javits Medical Center in New York City, where he was stationed with the rest of his Navy Reserves / Medical Service Corps unit.
Poff contacted Duncan Crannell, a technology teacher at RHS, who was creating mask extenders using a 3D printer from the high school and asked for his help. Crannell quickly provided her with 50 mask extenders, which she then passed on to her brother’s team in New York City. Through the combined efforts of Poff and Crannell, recipients of the masks were able to more safely treat patients who had contracted the coronavirus.
When Hannah Stepak, a senior at RHS, heard about the need for medical masks at the Morristown Medical Center, she went right to work, creating homemade masks, which she subsequently donated to the Morristown Medical Center. "The masks are simple to make and can be easily done at home,” Stepak said. “Even old sheets or dress shirts can be turned into masks.”
Prior efforts from RHS students in the battle to fight COVID 19 have included a letter writing campaign from Maddie Plansky, a junior at RHS, which she created for healthcare professionals working on the frontlines. “My mom is an oral surgeon, so she is in contact with many healthcare professionals,” Plansky said. “I saw firsthand the stress that they were going through.”
Plansky explained that she wanted to do something impactful that would not put anyone in danger: “The people who helped me to deliver the letters said that the workers were very grateful. My friend's sister works at one of the hospitals that we delivered to. She said her sister loved the letters and even cried while reading them because she was so touched.”
Olivia George, a sophomore at RHS, and her brother created a lawn sign campaign, with proceeds of approximately $4,000 going to coronavirus victims. Members of the Randolph community could purchase lawn signs for $20 each. As of this writing, George said she had sold over 200 of the $20 signs , earning approximately $4,000 in donations.
“My family and I were motivated to start this campaign due to my mom being a nurse at Morristown Medical Center,” George explained. “Hearing and seeing how hard and dedicated these healthcare workers are as they fight this virus is truly inspiring. We wanted to do something that could really benefit all of the staff at Morristown Medical and show our appreciation.”
Many RHS students and teachers have stepped up to make a difference in the community. Not only are they helping the front-line workers, but they are also helping to boost the morale of the Randolph community at large.
Editor’s Note: Jonah Perelman is a student at RHS participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Randolph.