Gresham’s renaissance is here to serve the community


Jessica Gunther

Students of renaissance create posters to advertise for the Toy Drive.

Jessica Gunther, Associate Editor

   GHS’s Renaissance program has several projects lined up for the rest of this year, and they are  working hard to engage the student body in many of these projects and charities. 

   The role of Renaissance is to bring the school together by planning events and involving students in their community both on campus and off. 

   “Renaissance is more of student community leadership representatives, whereas the Associated Student Body like ASB Student Council is elected positions that are led by officers, and they’re the governance of the school, so I would say Renaissance is more of our school community representation and connection with different initiatives led by different groups,” Renaissance advisor Brian Davis said. 

   The projects that have been completed so far this year consist of charitable events and drives, such as the Thanksgiving Food Drive that was given in November. Renaissance has also put together the themes for this year’s sports events, such as football games, basketball games and volleyball games, as well as student and teacher recognitions that occur every other week.

   “We really wanted to kick things off to bring people back from a virtual world to being more normal and in person,” Davis said. “We have student recognitions that have gone through the school where teachers want to recognize students that are standing out, whether it’s the work efforts that they’re putting in, or just being helpful to one another or just being mindful to other people.”

   Renaissance also organized teacher recognitions that are, in turn, where the students in Renaissance elect their favorite teachers to be “uplifted” during challenging times. 

   “Being a teacher, I know that this is a time where it’s very stressful because we know that other families are stressed too,” Davis said. “The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of our kids and community. So then we teachers, a lot of times, are so connected with our kids and we take on that stress and it kind of manifests. We want to make sure that teachers are uplifted during this time, too.”

   The director of the Renaissance this year is senior Peri Leo. Her job in the program is to lead and manage the class, assign tasks, and work with Davis to choose community service events and “keep spirit engaged for students at Gresham High School to participate in.”

 “In the beginning of the year we are mostly working on promoting spirit for the school and coming up with games for themes, but this year we kicked off September with a ribbon fundraiser for suicide awareness,” Leo said. “We raised this money to give to a mental health clinic called NARA. Right after this fundraiser our class tie-dyed pink masks to sell for breast cancer awareness. This money was also donated to a breast cancer research center and the masks were worn to the pink out game against Barlow.”

   Renaissance also just completed their Thanksgiving drive where food boxes were put together and given to local families in need. 

   “We do these every year and we call local businesses and receive turkeys from Sodexo in order to make a Thanksgiving meal box that will provide for a whole family. This year, our goal is to provide meals for 30 families,” Leo said.

   The Thanksgiving food drive involves the students of Renaissance going out and buying food for local families in need. 

   “We collect the food for it and hand it out to the families. We have help from NHS and Key club for (the Thanksgiving food drive) along with Toys for Tots,” junior Renaissance member Mary Volk said. 

  Renaissance is particularly busy throughout the holiday season, constantly moving “from one fundraiser to the next.”

   “After the Thanksgiving food boxes we will be working on the KGW Toy Drive during the month of December,” Leo said.

   The Toy Drive, organized by KGW, involves the students of GHS donating toys to provide for families in need during the holiday season. The Renaissance program may also participate in a KGW parade, but it’s still uncertain due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

   There are also plans in place for after the New Year, including the adoption of a Sparrow. 

   The plan to adopt a Sparrow began last year during distance learning. The sparrow last year was two-year-old leukemia patient Lauren.  Renaissance students encouraged students to complete community service hours around the community, which then translated into funds that were used to directly help Lauren and her family. “Our Sparrow program is basically where our class (and school) adopts a child with cancer in our community and helps to fundraise, do community service and makes gifts for them to help support their family during their treatments,” Volk said.

   In order to support Renaissance and their efforts to support the community and bring students closer together, students can donate during drives, take part in charities and fundraisers, and consider being a part of the program.

   “If you are interested in joining Renaissance, I highly recommend and suggest that you talk to Mr. Davis to get signed up for the next semester! It’s a super fun class and helps you build so many life skills,” Volk said.