Most often, projects are necessary to keep high school activity programs up and running. The traditional fundraisers, however, can be tedious and time-consuming, which is why an Indiana high school sought to raise money in a different way. Elkhart Central High School sells parking spots to students and faculty for $30 thanks to its parking space decorating program.
Once students purchase their parking spots, they can paint them with a design that has been approved by the school. Students’ parking spots are most-often decorated with their names and creative designs that show their personalities. This makes for a colorful parking lot while providing extra money for student activities.
According to vice principal Kelly Berheide, 60 faculty and students participated this year and now have their own parking spaces. Students get to choose where their designated spots are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The program is a way to give students a special opportunity to showcase themselves while supporting the student activities fund, which is used for rewards that go to students.
“We have a student activity fund that we use to reward students for grades, performing good deeds and good attendance. It really motivates students to want to perform well and be on time to class because they are being rewarded for it,” Berheide said.
Some of the ways the school uses the money from the fund is to provide a “Good Start Cookout” for students who perform well academically, as well as attendance awards on Fridays for classrooms with zero tardies or perfect attendance, and a “Most Improved Lunch” for teacher-nominated students who have improved their academic performances.
Many students purchase parking spots to highlight their creativity and personalities, and others reserve spots to ensure they won’t be late to school.
Senior Ryan Pairitz took the parking space decoration program to show his creativity and love for graphic design. Pairitz spent more than 50 hours designing and executing his retro-themed parking space decoration. His work resulted in many inquiries from local businesses about his parking space art.
“The general reaction to my design was a lot more than I anticipated. Many just paint a minimalist design or their names, but I chose to do much more,” Pairitz said. “I have had several business inquiries, including the community school system, and they even created a parking space design contest after my parking space brought some extra attention and excitement to the lot.”
Elkhart Central’s parking space decoration program may not be new or original, but it is a way to give students creative freedom and rewards throughout each school year. This creative way to raise funds for student rewards and activities is certainly colorful and fun for all who choose to participate.
Madi McGuire was an intern in the NFHS Publication/Communications Department and a junior at Butler University in Indianapolis.