Fairmont Student Uses Birthday Party As Opportunity to Help Others in Need

Fairmont Anaheim Hills 7th grader Arianna A. celebrated her 13th birthday last month in a rather unique way — by raising more than $1,600 to help children in need.

The new teenager recently participated in the annual academic pentathlon competition, during which she learned about the tremendous need for multitudes of individuals in Africa who don’t even have enough food to eat and water to drink. This inspired her to do her part to make a difference. She informed her mother that she didn’t want any presents for her birthday; instead, she wanted to use her party as a fundraiser to benefit children across the world who are living in poverty.

Arianna was able to use the Evite site to allow invitees to donate to Save the Children, an international organization that provides young girls and boys educational opportunities and protection from harm. While she was hopeful to raise her original goal of $500, she never expected just how much her community would be willing to give.

“I was really shocked,” she said. “We raised more than $1,000 more than our goal. People even donated at the party and after the party — our friends are really awesome!”

Wanting to help others (when many kids her age would rather have parties for themselves) is very much in character for Arianna. Her mother, Rose, said that, ever since Arianna was little, she has always had the desire to help others and to live a life of giving. It’s a practice Arianna said that she hopes to continue, especially now that she has the confidence that she is capable of bringing about positive change to the world.

“I felt really helpful, and I felt like, [even though I’m young], I can make a difference,” she said. “I felt really empowered, and I hope the kids at my party also felt empowered. Maybe I started something that will help [others] to give back, too.”

Arianna mentioned that she would like to continue fundraising efforts next year for her birthday and even for her 8th grade promotion ceremony at the end of the 2018–2019 school year. Because of what she learned regarding people’s struggles in South Sudan while reading the book “A Long Walk to Water” as part of the academic pentathlon, she intends to raise money to benefit Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide the South Sudan region access to safe water and improve hygiene practices in areas of great need. In doing so, Arianna hopes to give hope and opportunity to as many individuals as possible.

“Some people — and they can be the most intelligent people on the planet — are born into poverty, and it’s really not their fault,” she said. “I want people who aren’t as fortunate who can make an impact on this world to get the chance to make an impact on this world.”

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”