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Once a Railroader, always a Railroader
by Garrett Valenzuela
Oct 27, 2012 | 4675 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo/Garrett Valenzuela -- Sparks High School's bricks are being covered with pieces of history being sold by the Leadership class this year.
Tribune photo/Garrett Valenzuela -- Sparks High School's bricks are being covered with pieces of history being sold by the Leadership class this year.
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Tribune photo/Garrett Valenzuela -- Members of the Sparks High School Leadership class, from left to right, Juliana Rodrigues, Andrea Gumina, Cassie Grimm and Mariana Jacinto promote the bricks being sold as a fundraiser to help the community.
Tribune photo/Garrett Valenzuela -- Members of the Sparks High School Leadership class, from left to right, Juliana Rodrigues, Andrea Gumina, Cassie Grimm and Mariana Jacinto promote the bricks being sold as a fundraiser to help the community.
slideshow
SPARKS -- Recognition, legacy and pride are being displayed on the bricks of Sparks High School as part of a fundraiser for the Leadership class designed to “sell the school.”

The “bricks,” 2” x 7” plaques similar to the size of a desk name plate, have been bolted to the brick walls near the entrance of the school. The idea stemmed from Leadership class advisor Dan Schreiber who brainstormed with his students about ways to raise money for the multiple projects organized by the Leadership class.

“Mr. Schreiber wanted to make a fundraiser by selling the school and said since we are the brick house we should start selling bricks,” Cassie Grimm, a Leadership student at Sparks High, said. “At first we looked at him like he was crazy, and then he explained to us what he really wanted to do.”

Once purchased, a brick allows the buyer to etch three or five lines of appropriate text that will be hung inside the school forever. While only a couple clusters of bricks are displayed currently, the goal of the Leadership class is to cover every brick with a name, class motto, achievement or arrangement of words special to the school.

“Our motto is: ‘once a Railroader, always a Railroader,’ and it should always be in your heart, whether you are on your deathbed or just graduated,” Leadership student Juliana Rodriguez said. “To have that recognition reminds you ‘I am still a Railroader.’”

The writing on the current bricks range from a name with a graduation date to a name accompanied by “All-State football ‘52.” The freedom to choose any quote or saying allows buyers the freedom to share, in their own words or feelings, their memories of the school.

“Last year I bought one and it was my first year here in Sparks so under my name I put ‘let the adventure begin,’ Assistant Principal Amy Marable said.

The Leadership class is selling the bricks for $35 throughout the school year and two additional lines can be purchased for $15 more. Leadership student Andrea Gumina said the bricks give a chance to share individuality, and the bigger bricks are especially nice for supporting businesses who want to go even further.

“I think it would give a really good feeling to see your picture or your name on the wall and bring back all the memories you had in high school,” she said. “And even if you didn’t come here it is a good feeling of recognition to be a part of it, which I also think is really good for businesses because they get recognition that they are a part of Sparks High School and they help sponsor us.”

Last year the Leadership class began selling bricks a month or two later and managed to bring in about $2,000. Mariana Jacinto said the class tries to spread the money around for various projects throughout the year.

“The bricks do not just benefit the Leadership class,” she said. “Last year we started the Students Helping Students program where we help out and give money to families in need during the holidays. We will make baskets of food during Thanksgiving and Christmas for people who do not have the money to buy some things during the holidays.”

Grimm said part of the funds raised will go to a new Christmas project this year, involving several teachers throughout the school. A teacher from each department will decorate a Christmas tree provided by the Leadership class and they will be distributed to families who are unable to purchase them.   

“We try to make sure the money is spread around between the school, the community and our conferences we attend,” Rodriguez said. “We try to help out any way we can with any money that we have left.”

Sparks High Leadership students have been asked to sell five bricks each and will be given a grade based on their ability to work in the community to achieve the goal. Students have been selling at football games, alumni dinners and at local businesses.

“It helps that Mr. Schreiber makes it a grade for the Leadership students and he wants each of us to sell five bricks by the end of the year,” Grimm said. “We do have all school year to do it, but the more we sell the better. I tell people it is a good way to leave a legacy, reminisce and have people remember you.”

Order forms for the Sparks High School bricks can be obtained at the school’s office and from Leadership students at school events. For more information contact Dan Schreiber at 775-353-5550 or dschreiber@washoeschools.net.
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