For 70 Weed High School students, saving for a rainy day isn’t about putting money in the bank in case times get bad. It’s about saving lives when times already are bad.

For 70 Weed High School students, saving for a rainy day isn’t about putting money in the bank in case times get bad. It’s about saving lives when times already are bad.

After cramming down a quick spaghetti lunch, the students crowded into the gym to run laps to raise money for Save the Rain. The gym vibrated with laughter, music, and enthusiasm. Time was precious:  lunch break lasts a mere 16 minutes. One by one, students signed in for the event, and then took off running. “Let’s go! We’re making a difference!” several cheered. “Sharing the wealth!” others chanted.

“This is a great cause and a great way for us to help others,” said Key Club President Amanda Fowler, who coordinated the school’s fundraiser.   

“Every 15 seconds, a kid dies from lack of clean water,” freshman Lee Arthur said. “I’ll always help others, so I ran today. I don’t know how many laps I ran, but I know each lap helps a lot.”

“One lap equals one life,” freshman Gus Avo said. “So I ran as many laps as I could to help save as many lives as I could.”
Runners were sponsored by business, family members, and the high school staff. “We raise money through our sponsors,” Key Club member Michelle Downer said.

“Students typically contributed by doing the laps, though a lot of us donated our money, too. I’m really glad our Key Club is helping the students in Tanzania. Doing this helps us, too; it makes us stronger,” she added.

Weed and Dunsmuir High School students participated in the Rain Run fundraiser April 20th; Mt. Shasta High students ran April 14th. All money raised by the runs benefits the water project in Mikungani, Tanzania, according to Luna Russo, Save the Rain Coordinator.

“Mikungani’s high school has 700 students, the same number of students as in Weed, Mt. Shasta, and Dunsmuir High, combined,” Russo noted. “That makes their efforts particularly sweet.”

“These students are making an incredible difference in thousands of lives,” Russo added. “I’m proud of them because they gave it their all today. They wolfed down a spaghetti lunch to be here and then did all these laps. Their energy was truly inspirational!”

“This run and the fundraiser are not just about raising money; they’re about raising awareness. It’s about realizing that we’re all connected, no matter where we live or what we do,” Russo said. “Students learn some of the terrible truths about water and life. When they know what’s going on, they want to do something.”

“I’m proud of our club and all the students,” Key club member Selina Darger agreed. “Our school supports helping others who don’t have as much as we do. I’m happy that we’re not taking what we have for granted. Today is all about gratitude for what we have and sharing it with others.”

“The Rain Run is a great event,” Weed High School Principal Mike Ristuccia smiled. “Any way to get our student body together to help a cause is great for the cause and great for the high school as a whole. I’m extremely proud of the students.”

Weed High’s Key Club started preparations for the Run in late March. Runners committed to finding sponsors; each sponsored lap raised $15. Bracelets made by Tanzanian students were sold for $5. “Lots of the staff bought bracelets as well as sponsored us,” Downer said. “They really helped a lot. It really was a total community effort.”

“I’m very proud of our Key Club students and their part in organizing the Rain Run,” Mary Menzies said. Menzies is the Mt. Shasta and Weed High Key Club advisor. “Both the Mt. Shasta event last week and today’s were fantastic. It’s amazing to see such enthusiastic participation at a deep level.”

“I’m thrilled at the student’s energy,” Terri Sternberg, Save the Rain Advisory Board Member, said. “They sent a lot of light out into our world with this energy. They helped save a lot of lives. It’s amazing how much they care; it gives me hope for our future!”

“I did the run last year,” sophomore Daniel Cadwallader panted. “This year I ran 70 laps; I felt like I should do at least that. I’m a good runner and I want to help other people. All of us here today ran for that reason.”|

“There are lots of ways to be involved in Save the Rain,” Russo noted. “What we’re doing, literally, is helping others save their rain so they can have clean drinking water. It’s a simple, but profound way to make a difference.”"
 To become involved or to learn more about the program, call 926-9999 or visit “You can always leave a message and we’ll get back to you,” Russo smiled.