By Annette Hinkle
‘Tis the season of giving, and there are lots of good hearted students on the East End willing to get involved and give of themselves at this time of year to help the needy in their communities.
But at Bridgehampton School, the notion of “giving” has been taken to a whole new level this year.
That’s because student council members Hayley Lund, Jennah Hochstedler, Olivia Bono, Annabel DeGroot and Jolene Ressing (an exchange student from Germany) have not only developed a three pronged strategy to help those in need in the Bridgehampton community, they’ve also found a unique way to promote their efforts — in the recording booth.
Well, to be fair, the girls explain, it’s actually a small room at the school used by teacher Dave Elliott for music lessons, but it turned out to be big enough to record a song that’s bringing some welcome attention to their holiday fundraising efforts.
Those efforts include a giving tree stationed at Bridgehampton National Bank, a fundraising raffle featuring gift baskets made up of merchandise donated by Main Street businesses, and a food drive designed to stock the shelves of the St. Ann’s food pantry up the road.
It’s really the food drive that is the subject of the “Can Song” (Student Council Song) which is set to the tune of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.” The lyrics were written by Hochstedler with help from Lund, and sung by a couple of the girls on the student council, along with friend India Hemby. The song implores fellow Bridgehampton students to bring in food donations for the pantry. As an added enticement, the girls held weekly bake sales at the school and gave away cookies and brownies (which they baked themselves) in exchange for food donations.
“Thanks to these young ladies this is the most food we’ve gotten by far,” said teacher John Reilly, advisor for the student council.
DeGroot notes that tying the donation of canned food to bake sale items proved to be quite a successful model.
“That will motivate people,” confirms DeGroot.
But you can’t go wrong with a catchy song, and the “Can Song” proved to be so popular in the weeks leading up to Christmas break that, after frequent playing over the school’s P.A. system (and on the airwaves of WLNG), quite a few students could be heard singing the lyrics as they walked down the halls at Bridgehampton School.
“Each year it’s gotten better,” says principal Jack Pryor of the student council’s holiday fundraising efforts. “Then this incredible group of students came along and took it to a whole new level.”
Top photo: Bridgehampton School student council members (front row) Jolene Ressing, Jennah Hochstedler and Olivia Bono, (back row) Hayley Lund and Annabel DeGroot with the food collected for St. Ann’s food pantry.