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  • Conner Emery

Chocolate Bars at CVCHS: the Mark of a Cause

Updated: Jan 6

by Conner Emery

The CVCHS community has been concerned for months about the health of Emilia, a young Polish infant, but after tenacious fundraising efforts on campus and in Poland, preoperative testing for Emilia’s heart surgery is now scheduled for April.

In February 2022, Holda announced to students and staff that the fundraising goal had been reached. She first explained in October 2021 that the specialized surgery for Emilia’s condition was accessible only in the United States. Consequently, expenses were projected upwards of $1.4 million, and Holda was eager to supplement Polish fundraising through chocolate sales and charity events.

“I told my friend I was going to have a glass of champagne,” Holda recalled of learning that the fundraising goal was met. She could identify “the exact date” that her friend broke the news.

For months, Holda, numerous supportive staff members, and Link Leaders (freshmen orientation and adjustment leaders) fundraised for Emilia’s treatment. Holda chose to sell World’s Finest Chocolate bars by the advice of teachers Nick Hansen, Sarah Lovick, Katie Nolan, and Kelsey Powers. They had experience managing freshmen programs and Travel Club fundraisers for international trips between them, and Holda readily sold out of the 25 boxes of chocolate she first ordered—1500 chocolate bars total.

Her second order was for 80 boxes.

“I sold them all in like three hours,” said Melddy Camey Gil, a Link Leader, of her experience selling chocolate bars. Among her customers, “everyone” was empathetic towards Emilia.

Meredith Edmonston, one of the Link Crew Commissioners, put it aptly, “Students were sympathetic.”

Chocolate sales were the most prevalent fundraising, but other groups rose to the occasion on behalf of Emilia. The CVCHS Key Club, a community service club, organized the Pie For A Heart event. Students paid a fee to “pie” teachers in the face, and the proceeds would go toward Emlia’s treatment.

The CVCHS football team, on a different track, contributed by participating in a pushup contest. Set amounts of push-ups validated the pledge of a corporate sponsor, and players were able to practice standard conditioning while supporting a sick child’s surgical fund.

To describe the campus fundraising effort, Holda said, “In general, it was just selling chocolate.”

The emotional influence of Emilia’s story and associated collaboration should not be overlooked, however. “I’ve worked with children my whole life,” said Lovick, “and it breaks my heart to see kids that need medical care not have access to it due to financial circumstances.”

In this fashion, Holda has set a new fundraising goal of $20,000. With the remaining chocolate and additional fundraising efforts, she hopes to provide “a small part” of relief to the crisis in Ukraine. “A lot of information comes from my family in Poland,” she said, “a lot of information about refugees.”

Donations will go toward refugee students currently enrolled at Szkola Podstawowa Wandy Rutkiewicz in Rsaska, near Krakow, Poland. Holda attended this elementary school as a child, and she is “trying to help out.”

The cause was publicized in the CVCHS newsletter the week of March 21, 2022, noting that “more than $2,500” had already been raised.

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