Students at Elk County Catholic High School recently joined forces with the organization Pure Thirst in an effort to raise funds for the building of a water purification system for the village of Las Caleras, Honduras.
Pure Thirst was recently founded by Matt Burnett, a senior at DuBois Central Catholic High School, and the organization works in conjunction with the Rice Foundation and the DuBois Rotary Club.
In addition to students from DuBois Central Catholic and Elk County Catholic, other area schools that have become involved with the organization include DuBois Area High School, Brockway Area High School and Brookville Area High School.
Students at Elk County Catholic have been actively involved with the fundraising efforts for the past few months, according to Fr. Ross Miceli, co-advisor of Elk County Catholic's Campus Ministry program.
A total of about $25,000 is needed for the construction and education costs associated with the water filtration system, and Miceli noted that over $17,000 has been raised so far by the organization.
"Once we raise $25,000, then we can raise money for us to go [to Honduras]," Miceli said.
Pure Thirst hopes to have the necessary funds for the project in place by the end of February, and members will travel to Las Caleras on June 18 for a week-long trip that will include mission work and the dedication of the facility.
Elk County Catholic students Sara Kucenski and Sophie Herzing, both of whom are involved with Pure Thirst, explained that a number of fundraisers have already been held at the school, including the sale of T-shirts, bracelets and shoelaces.
Both Kucenski and Herzing remarked that the student response regarding the fundraising effort has been extremely positive.
"I've noticed a lot of T-shirts being bought. A lot of people want shirts. We ran out of the smalls, that's how many we sold in that size," Kucenski said. "Also, I've had people actually come up to me after I mentioned doing something here at the school and they have responded really well, saying, 'I can help, what do you need me to do?'"
Kucenski added that she is currently involved with organizing a pizza and wing night at the school on Friday, Feb. 11 to be held in conjunction with the Elk County Catholic boys' basketball game versus St. Marys Area High School. The fundraiser will be open to current students from both Elk County Catholic and St. Marys Area.
"We're going to see how much money we can raise. We're not exactly sure how much money we're going to charge yet. We're still kind of debating that," Kucenski said. "We're only going to sell water. We're not going to have any pop or Kool-Aid or anything like that because we kind of want to raise that awareness [about the luxury of having clean drinking water] and what we want to give the people in Honduras."