North Oconee High School in Bogart, Georgia is now home to our first official high school chapter! They first got involved with MEDLIFE last fall, during the One Billion+ Tour, and continue to grow fast. Read the Q&A with chapter president Ivey Tanner to learn more about what they’re up to:
How did you hear about MEDLIFE? Why did you decide to start a chapter?
A member of the UGA MEDLIFE chapter contacted our school counselors wondering if we were interested in a presentation being made at our school. Since I am a student council officer, that email was then forwarded to me. I discussed this with a few other student council members, and we decided we were definitely interested. Juan Vanegas then came and spoke at our school, and a group of us were moved by his presentation. From there 5 of my closest friends and fellow students as well as I made it our mission to start a chapter at NOHS.
Describe the process of starting your chapter and planning your meetings and activities.
First, we attended the presentation Juan made. After that, the 6 of us met and decided we wanted to approach our principal and get this idea approved. We then met with our principal who was just as excited as we were, and he gave us permission to begin the NOHS chapter. After that, we formed an executive board of 11 students, and we planned our first meeting. We had over 90 students attend the first meeting! At that meeting we presented some fundraising ideas we had already thought of and we opened up for new ideas. We are now in the process of planning a school wide beach volleyball tournament which will benefit MEDLIFE.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in getting your chapter started?
I believe our biggest challenge was getting students interested. As you would guess, most, if not all, students at NOHS had never heard of MEDLIFE. We worked hard to spread the word through the morning announcements, video announcements, and our school website. We were quite discouraged after Juan’s presentation when only about 15 students showed up. However, we kept trying and now we have 80+ members.
What advice would you give to other high school students who want to get involved?
Take control and you can definitely get it done. Our chapter, like I mentioned, only began with 6 students wanting to make it happen. In a school of about 1,200, it was a daunting task to begin a brand new club. However, we have had great success and many people including teachers and many other students have offered to help.
Also, if possible, contact a college or university near you that has a MEDLIFE chapter and ask them for advice. The girls from the UGA MEDLIFE chapter have been a huge help and resource for us. We would not even have a chapter if it had not been for them. They have provided us with fundraising ideas, club organization ideas, and they even met with us before our first meeting to ensure we had everything we needed to be successful. We are still in contact with them in case we ever need anything or in case we have any questions.
What has your chapter done so far?
So far, we have met a few times, and we have formed many future ideas for fundraisers. Currently, we are working on a beach volleyball tournament. We have also joined with other clubs to help with their fundraisers so that some of those profits may go to MEDLIFE. For example, we have teamed up with Spanish Honor Society in their annual teacher talent show, and we have also been working with a group of students who have decided to put on a local outdoor concert. We plan to also have a few bake sales throughout the end of the year. Plans for the fall semester include a “grub night” which will consist of a school wide food fight and little games such as slamming a pie in a selected teacher’s face. We are also planning to have a 5k next fall in which all the proceeds will go to MEDLIFE. We are very excited for the coming fundraisers and for the future of the chapter.
What are your plans for the future of the chapter?
We plan to keep growing as a chapter so that we can fund more and more projects. Our goal is to be able to host bigger projects as the chapter grows. We have also set the executive board up in a way as to give younger students an opportunity to lead so that as each class graduates there are students behind them carrying on the chapter. We also plan to make it our goal to pick a project each month or so to fundraise for, so that we can make as big of a difference as possible. Within the next two years we are planning on attending a mobile clinic. That is a big goal for many of us, and we are going to work hard so that we can make that happen. However, we are also planning to get very involved locally and help raise money for needy areas in our own community in addition to other countries.
The Spring One Billion+ Virtual Tour is happening now! If you’d like MEDLIFE to come to your campus, email [email protected]