A salute to veterans: Greenfield High School students look to raise $2.5K for Wounded Warrior Project

Greenfield High School Essential Skills teacher Cherilyn Bulger, right, and her students are having a raffle in the cafeteria during lunch to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Greenfield High School Essential Skills teacher Cherilyn Bulger, right, and her students are having a raffle in the cafeteria during lunch to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Greenfield High School Essential Skills teacher Cherilyn Bulger and her students are having a raffle in the cafeteria during lunch to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Greenfield High School Essential Skills teacher Cherilyn Bulger and her students are having a raffle in the cafeteria during lunch to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Students buy raffle tickets for treats and goods in the Greenfield High School cafeteria during lunch on Friday to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Students buy raffle tickets for treats and goods in the Greenfield High School cafeteria during lunch on Friday to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 11-03-2023 3:56 PM

GREENFIELD — With Veterans Day just around the corner, one Greenfield High School class is hoping to raise as much as $2,500 this year for the Wounded Warrior Project.

“We want to bring awareness to the fact veterans don’t always get what they need from the [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs],” said Cherilyn Bulger, a special education teacher at Greenfield High School who teaches the Essential Skills class. “They need a lot of support.”

The group’s fundraising efforts kicked off this week with a lunchtime raffle, selling tickets at the price of one for $1, six for $5 and “an arm’s length” for $8. From Monday to Friday, students in Bulger’s class sold raffle tickets for 20 bags of treats and other small goods, such as jewelry, stuffed animals and candles, and a selection of gift cards from area businesses.

Bulger said not only was her father a veteran, but many of her closest friends are veterans. She has volunteered for a number of veterans organizations, she said, including the Hidden Battles Foundation and Carry the Load.

Ultimately, she chose the Wounded Warrior Project because of the educational component it offered, with videos and worksheets for the students to complete. Honor Their Courage, a service-learning opportunity benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project, offers students the opportunity to learn about the history, sacrifices and realities of service members, while fundraising to support injured veterans, according to the organization’s website.

In addition to putting together the raffle bags, students got practice cold-calling businesses — asking if they’d be willing to donate gift cards — handling money, and interacting with students, teachers and other members of the school community. One student even had the chance to try public speaking earlier in the week, when she announced to those in the cafeteria that the fundraiser would be taking place.

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“I think they learned a lot,” Bulger said.

Nate Woodard, 16, and Jacob Purinton, 15, both of whom are students in Bulger’s Essential Skills class, said it was exciting to see how many students were willing to donate.

“The important thing is to help people in need,” Nate said.

Jacob agreed, adding that anything to support the veterans “is awesome.”

Jayvan Spring, 13, said he most enjoyed getting to set up the table and meet new students as they came up to buy raffle tickets.

Like his peers, he’d learned about the Wounded Warrior Project through Bulger.

“It’s harder for [veterans] when they get back,” Jayvan said, adding that the money the students raise will “help them get back to their normal, everyday life.”

As of Friday morning, the class had raised $580, according to Bulger, with a goal for the week of raising $625. By the end of the school year, the students hope to raise as much as $2,500.

Though the raffle concluded after the last lunch of the week, the students plan to hold additional fundraisers throughout the school year, while also raising money through an online portal hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project. The fundraising page can be found at tinyurl.com/GHSWoundedWarrior.

According to the nonprofit, fundraising efforts support Wounded Warrior Project programs and services, which are provided at no cost to warriors and their families. The nonprofit offers career and VA benefits counseling, mental health services and rehabilitative retreats, to name a few.

“Veterans Day is coming up,” Bulger said. “Veterans Day ... acknowledges the ones who are still with us. The whole reason we get to be the country we are is because of them.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.