Seniors provide relief with”Poets on Shirts’ Fundraiser

Video Credit Aleya Noor

By: Renee Rohani

Business Manager

With senior year nearing its end, some senior friends decided they didn’t want to leave Coppell High School without leaving their mark.

Seniors Suwetha Amsavelu, Satvika Ananth, Daphne Chen, Jessie King and Chris Nguyen came up with the idea of designing and selling T-shirts as a fundraiser, named “Poets on Shirts.”

In association with Junior World Affairs Council (JWAC), the group is selling the T-shirts and sending all of the proceeds collected to earthquake relief in Chile through American Red Cross. Up to now, the group has earned a little over $800 for the Chile effort.

“We just thought it’s our senior year and we wanted to do something before we left,” said King, the JWAC secretary. “We decided that T-shirts would be the most profitable thing because pretty much everyone likes to buy them.”

Aside from coming up with the idea themselves, the group also designed and created the T-shirts.

“The drawings were a collaborative effort,” King said. “We picked the poems we wanted to use on the shirts together and everyone added their own element of design.”

The three different T-shirt designs each display excerpts from three famous poems, all selected by the group of seniors. The poems are “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas and “If I Could Stop One Heart from Breaking” by Emily Dickinson.

“We specifically chose poems that have to do with rising up from adversity and fighting struggles,” said Amsavelu, JWAC treasurer.

The themes of the poems certainly reflect the motive of the group.

“It’s later in the year now, so unfortunately most people have forgotten the grief that is going on around the world,” King said. “We wanted to be sure the people at Coppell were still remembering that there are people in need.”

The fundraiser’s T-shirt designs have created quite a buzz around campus. Students and teachers alike are eager to participate.

“I heard what they were for and thought it was a pretty good idea,” junior Hayden Weaver said. “I liked the design of the shirt so I thought, ‘Why not?’”

English teacher Zack Sherman has vowed to wear his ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” shirt every Friday of the year. English teacher Nannette McMurtry also had praises for the shirts.

“What a great idea for the students to come up with, and it’s also great that it is going towards a good cause,” McMurtry said.

The most surprising success the group has had is coming from outside of the Coppell community. The group of seniors was shocked to discover the number of people requesting shirts who do not even attend CHS.

“Everything has been done through our Facebook group, and because of that people from all over have been calling and asking for shirts, even people we don’t know,” King said. “We didn’t really make any efforts to reach out to people outside of Coppell; it just happened.”

Because of the power of the Internet, “Poets on Shirts” is attracting the attention of buyers from Virginia, California, Massachusetts and New York to name a few locations.

Columbia University freshman Annie Liu was one such buyer.

“I was invited to the [Facebook] group and was really interested in what I saw,” Liu said. “I came to the high school to buy the shirts because the design really appealed to me and I knew it was for Chile.”

The success of the T-shirts has surpassed the anticipation of the group. Pre-orders for the red v-neck shirts were taken weeks ago, yet when orders finally came in, the shirts sold out in less than a day. The second order for the shirts has already been put in place.

“We hoped people would want to buy the shirts, but we never imagined we would have this much success,” King said. “I think people like the appeal of giving to charity and getting something out of it.”

The seniors plan to continue to raise money for Chile with the shirt designs they have and are grateful for the achievement the shirts have made.

“I don’t really think any of us ever imagined it would get this big,” Amsavelu said. “It’s just amazing.”

Shirts are still available for purchase. For more information, contact Satvika Ananth at [email protected] or visit the Facebook group, “Poets on Shirts: A T-shirt Fundraiser.”

Senior Nathan Reck models one of the shirt designs from the "Poets on Shirts" fundraiser. Photo by Viviana Trevino.