Events related to Hero Projects no longer allowed on campus

Credit%3A+Aysen+Tan%2F+The+Foothill+Dragon+Press.

Glenda Marshall

Credit: Aysen Tan/ The Foothill Dragon Press.
Credit: Aysen Tan/ The Foothill Dragon Press.

For their senior hero project, six Foothill students hope to supply hospitalized children with opportunities to make a hole-in-one, raise a puppy, and go-cart through Mushroom Gorge and Moo Moo Meadows. Impossible you say? Not quite.

The students’ plan of action consists of hosting Local Area Network (LAN) parties as fundraisers to purchase video games for patients at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

“LAN Parties are a type of gathering in which those invited bring their personal game consoles and monitors to play with their friends at a decided location,” said Audrey Benelisha, one of the students hosting the parties this year.

But unlike last year’s hosts, Benelisha and her project partners are unable to hold the parties on campus due to regulations Foothill enacted early last year. These new rules have prohibited students from hosting or advertising any event on campus.

These regulations may not only affect the LAN party hosts but other students as well, whether they be seniors  to fulfill their hero projects or members of a club hoping to hold an event after school.

Administration felt that there were too many events for the school to handle and that the advertising of hero projects was becoming too hectic.

“If there are 200 seniors and 75 want to advertise […] you can only imagine how crazy it could get,” Principal Joe Bova said

However, Benelisha feels her situation is particularly unfair given that the administration made an exception for the LAN Party hosts last year.

“They allowed last year’s LAN party to [host the events on campus], when they weren’t supposed to, and I find it unjust that they’ll make an exception for them but not for us,” she said. “We’ve had to do so much more work than last year’s group.”

She is also worried that advertising off campus would attract the wrong audience and may even be potentially dangerous.

“Our LAN parties are directed towards the kids of Foothill and maybe Foothill alumni, not random people off the street. That would be completely unsafe to anyone attending,” she said.

According to Bova, the LAN Party hosts last year had asked the office for approval before the new rules were set into action.

“The group from last year had prior approval so we didn’t want to go back on our word, but then this year’s group kind of came in thinking it would be no problem,” Bova said.

The senior hero project is a mandatory assignment for all 12th grade students at Foothill. According to hero project advisor Melanie Lindsey, the senior project is really about “stepping outside of yourself and making the world a better place for someone else.”

Administrators encourage students to become involved with a non-profit organization rather than planning an entire gathering. For the most part, it is only a small percentage of seniors that choose to undertake the responsibility of planning an event.

Bova believes that students witness large projects on campus like Schools For Salone and St. Baldricks and imagine themselves doing something similar when, in reality, these projects were led by staff members who have more resources than the students.

Cherie Eulau, one of the teachers who organized the Schools For Salone project, believes that planning an event similar to those put on by the Schools For Salone team would be incredibly difficult for high schoolers lacking adult guidance.

“The big, big projects take adult leadership. I don’t believe there are many teens that could pull it off,” she said.

She even said that, as the adult supervisor, there were some situations she encountered in the planning process where she did not feel entirely comfortable.

“I signed off on a lot of contracts and, to be honest, I don’t know if I would do it again,” she said.

The student LAN party hosts this year are beginning to face similar problems regarding responsibility.

“Teachers aren’t allowed to chaperone our LAN parties so we’ve had to burden our parents for help and the church wants us to have someone liable in case something goes wrong and no one wants to be held liable,” Benelisha said.

But despite the minor setbacks and suggestions to work with a different cause, the LAN party hosts believe in their cause and intend to complete their project.

“I’m not going to abandon my group members at this point, and likewise for them,” Benelisha said. “We are determined to see this out.”

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