A Haunted House that Left Me Scared, and Bursting With Pride

A preschool-aged sibling hid in his room. A writhing trapped rat greeted us at the door. A skeleton sang and swayed while playing the keyboard. A ghost fell on my head. The masterminds? Two boys in grade 4 and their trusty crew of friends, one sister and parents. The mission? To raise money for breast cancer research.

This story goes back to the first day of school. A boy in grade 4 approached me, clipboard in hand. He explained that he had started organizing a Haunted House fundraiser and wanted to meet to discuss it. He knew that’s all it took to launch a leadership project. “Drop by my office and we’ll talk. But remember that you must be willing to persist, and to think flexibly as we plan.” This wasn’t part of a club or program and would test his commitment from the start by making him take responsibility.

He had lots of ideas. He gathered a team. When they learned they couldn’t create a Haunted House at KCS, his friend suggested they could transform his garage. When this boy asked his parents if they could use the garage, his parents replied that they needed a written proposal. The proposal passed, posters were made, a Powerpoint presentation to their classmates was given and a note to their parents posted in the weekly newsletter. Throughout were lots of drafts, changes, challenges, and mistakes. They gave up their recesses, tracked me down a dozen times or more, and devoted two weekends to preparing the garage.

The boys and their siblings raised a significant amount for cancer research. Dozens of visitors experienced an unforgettable Haunted House. This group, through their efforts, made the world better in multiple ways.

And adults of the world are left with a lesson. Don’t ever assume children are too young to lead. Let them lead. We’ll all enjoy a world that’s much richer for it.

Andrea Fanjoy,
Assistant Head, Academics
You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.