Gilroy High students rally to aid tsunami victims

Brittany Smith and the Gilroy High School Associated Student

Even though 5,000 miles of Pacific Ocean separates the Garlic
Capital from Japan, distance hasn’t deterred Gilroyans from
practicing some bighearted neighborliness
– even if it’s one penny at a time.

On Monday I got about six dollars,

said Gilroy High School Senior Brittany Smith, 17.
Even though 5,000 miles of Pacific Ocean separates the Garlic Capital from Japan, distance hasn’t deterred Gilroyans from practicing some bighearted neighborliness – even if it’s one penny at a time.

“On Monday I got about six dollars,” said Gilroy High School Senior Brittany Smith, 17.

Smith is commissioner of clubs for the Associated Student Body, and said ASB students decided Friday to launch a collection of money for all victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Even though they’re off to a humble start, Smith pointed out every little bit counts – especially in light of Gilroy’s tight-knit relationship with Takko-Machi, a lush, mountainous city roughly 250 miles inland from Japan’s coastline.

Smith is one of the many students who has participated in the Gilroy-Takko Student Exchange Program, an organization that’s been sending Gilroy Unified School District sophomores and juniors to Takko-Machi during the summer months for the past 20 years. The popular program allows GUSD students to become enmeshed in Japanese culture, traditions and lifestyles while strengthening a transcontinental relationship and forming new friendships.

“I had an amazing time,” said Smith as she manned the donation table near the gym at GHS during lunch. “I fell in love with everything there … I loved the green mountains encasing the entire community.”

She said thinking about all that was destroyed in Japan, and the negative repercussions resulting from the tsunami and earthquake, was a frightening nightmare to ponder.

Currently there are about 50 donations cans in circulation throughout the school, Smith said. Many have been placed in classrooms and the administrative offices, and ASB is asking all parents, staff and students to donate whatever spare change – or larger amounts, if they wish – during the next two weeks. The money will go directly to an American Red Cross fund designated specifically for Japan’s tsunami/earthquake crisis.

Check Friday’s edition of the Dispatch for updates on other organizations and groups getting involved with disaster relief in Japan.

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