GELF fundraiser to support Newton students on travel programs

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Emily Moss

by Emily Moss

The Global Education Leadership Fund (GELF), an organization providing Newton high school students with financial aid for international travel programs, will hold its fifth annual fundraising dinner March 8, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. in this school’s cafeteria.

GELF has supported over 98 students from this school and South with a total of $136,000 to go on trips to Australia, Russia, Italy, India, Prague, Nicaragua, Peru, Spain, France, Panama, and China, according to Julie Sall, a member of the GELF board.

The organization was created in 2008 after a discussion at the Newton Schools Foundation winter dinner on the importance of global education, said Sall.

“Unfortunately there wasn’t equal access to these programs because some students in our community had limited financial means,” Sall added. “The next day a check arrived enabling the two Newton high schools to start GELF by funding two students for international travel – and we haven’t stopped since.”

Tickets for the fundraiser cost $150, and 150 guests are expected to attend, all of whom are adult Newton community members, according to Sall. Members of the organization hope to raise at least $30,000 through ticket sales, an auction, and other donations.

History teacher Gregory Drake added that students applying for financial aid from GELF must submit general information and a personal statement on what they hope to gain from the trip as well as how it will improve their leadership abilities.

Guests at the fundraiser will have the chance to hear about the way GELF has impacted students and teachers, and there will also be live music and dancing, according to Drake. “It’s going to be a great time,” he said.

According to Sall, the evening will include a five-course dinner prepared by Katya Salkever with the help of the culinary students in the Tiger’s Loft. The superintendent, central office staff, and principals will act as waiters and waitresses for the evening, said Sall.

“Many of our diners come back year after year because they know it is a great evening of conversation and fun,” she added.