ONTARIO — What’s a parking space worth to you?
Perhaps little, but what if the money spent went toward a good cause?
Ontario High School seniors had the opportunity to bid on their own parking space in the school parking lot, with all of the proceeds benefiting the CamStrong Foundation — a fund established in memory of Ontario student Cameron Friend.
The result? Students raised $1,283.
“The senior class officers decided to donate the funds to the CamStrong Foundation, which is a fund here at the school that’s earmarked for students who participate in extracurricular activities that can’t afford it,” said Ontario High School principal Chris Smith.
Maria Caporini, senior class president, said some students forgo extracurriculars because they don’t have the means to participate.
“You don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives,” she said. “People hide it very well.”
The school has pay-to-participate fees for sports, and participation in extracurriculars often comes with added costs.
The CamStrong fund, which is distributed at the discretion of coaches, administrators and school staff, helps students pay for participation fees, uniforms, shoes, etc.
“When we see an opportunity to help a student, we do,” Smith said.
The decision to support the CamStrong Foundation was unanimous among the class officers, according to Caporini.
The CamStrong Foundation was created in memory of Cameron Friend, who died in March 2017 after complications from a bone marrow transplant.
“He was a big part of our class and a big part of the school system,” Caporini said.
Seniors placed their bids for a parking space in early September. The minimum bid was set at $5.
“We put the minimum very low so that all students would have the opportunity to participate,” Smith said.
The highest bid came in at $145.
As a unique touch, all bidders had the opportunity to personalize their parking space for the school year with a design of their own creation.
“That was probably one of the coolest things,” Smith said.
Students spent a Sunday in September working on their designs. Smith said it ended up being a family affair, with many family members on hand to help out.
“It was just really nice to see all of the families socializing with each other and helping their kids out and other families as well,” Caporini said. “It was fun.”
Smith said he’s received positive feedback about the project, adding, “We’ll definitely do it next year and afford those seniors the opportunity to do the same thing.”