Former Valley students fundraising to buy masks for students

Brandon Shen, Sean Danahy, Max Anger, Drew Floyd and Juan Montano in front of their former elementary school.
(Courtesy photo)

Five former Valley Elementary School students are raising funds to purchase masks for students returning to the Poway campus.

The former students, now attending high schools across San Diego County, have raised over half of their $4,000 goal through a GoFundMe campaign.

They were all in the Dual Language Program at Valley Elementary, where they became friends, said Drew Floyd, a Rancho Bernardo High School junior. His fellow students are Max Anger, also a Rancho Bernardo High School junior; Sean Danahy, a sophomore at Torrey Pines High School; Juan Montano, a Poway High School junior; and Brandon Shen, a junior at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad.

“My friends and I attended the dual language program at Valley Elementary and became the four musketeers (except there are five of us),” Floyd said. “We are now … all attending different high schools, but we are still best friends.”

He said the friends have become good at using Zoom, Snapchat and video game chats to stay in touch while quarantined because of the pandemic.

They are hoping to raise enough money to buy reusable cloth masks for as many as 700 students at Valley Elementary, Floyd said.

Shen initially reached out to his friends with the idea for buying masks for the students at Valley, Floyd said.

“Brandon reached out after learning the elementary schools will be opening first (in the Poway Unified School District),” Floyd said. “He figured Valley would probably need masks because it’s a Title 1 school, which means 50 percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch.”

Floyd said they know how important wearing a mask is to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and if all the masks match, it will be a source of “Tiger Pride” for the Valley Elementary students.

The friends brainstormed where to get masks and how to raise the funds, Floyd said. They researched local print shops and what masks would be best for the students. They also spoke to staff and the PTA at Valley to have their idea approved, Floyd added.

Their GoFundMe campaign launched on Sept. 15. As of Oct. 12, they raised $3,609 of their $4,000 goal, with 86 donors. Floyd said the masks should take about a week to make and have delivered, and the friends were hoping to raise enough funds to buy and deliver the masks before Valley Elementary students returned to campus on Oct. 12.

This is the first time Floyd and his friends have run a fundraising campaign, he said, and it has been “pretty exciting” getting to work with his friends to support their old elementary school.

“It’s been a very fun project,” Floyd said, “… and it helps kids at Valley. If anything else came up like this again, I’d be happy to help with the fundraising.”

The GoFundMe campaign is at tinyurl.com/ValleyMasks.


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