This I Believe

Scott - Wayland, Massachusetts
Entered on February 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Luck or Materialism?

Every year my school has a student raffle to support the school. For $1, you can buy a ticket that could achieve you a middle schoolers’ dream: a video game, game system, or various other objects of desire. The intentions of the raffle this year were to raise money to “upgrade the website.” So for the past few days, the event du jour was walking out to the raffle table and getting your heart pumping at the idea of actually winning one of the items. Whatever happened to non-materialism and the thought of a socioeconomically friendly school?

When the final drawing came, it can’t be said that those who didn’t enter were singled out for their righteous actions; they just blended in with all of the other losers whose money, which was taken on the pretense of “helping the school,” was lost because of material lust. Is it fair to all those students who come to school by the school’s aid, who already hurt because of Concord’s painfully un-Thoreauvian materialism, to be subjected to the idea that one throws money at a competition just because they feel like it? It’s not fair to allow it. If the school wants donations, they should get the students to donate to the endowment, not encourage materialism and socioeconomic discrimination.

I believe that as a private school in an affluent suburb, my school has a duty to discourage materialism and ostentatious displays of wealth. After all, the raffle created a total sense of how much money can you put in; the topic of conversation for days was what you most wanted from the raffle and how many tickets you put in. How would it feel to know that all of your friends could throw away money on trivial pursuits for entertainment when you were one of the few who couldn’t, and the raffle doesn’t even recognize that fact?

It’s very clear why this seemingly innocent fundraising technique annoys me so much. The school spends plenty of time and effort trying to create socioeconomic diversity; why throw it away for a little student entertainment and encouragement of materialism?