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A cookbook? A jelly empire? Board members mull over innovative fundraising concepts

Fundraising was the main topic at International High’s school board meeting on Feb. 13. The directors meeting for VIBE, as the board is known, began with the introduction of a glass piggy bank that will now be displayed at every meeting to remind board members to get more financially engaged.

“It’s a different kind of piggy bank,” said vice chair Karen Dwyer, clutching the pig in both hands. “When you touch the pig,” she continued, “you feel gratitude.” She then slipped a dollar into the slot.

Board chair Andrew Ward spoke about the VIBE Ambassadors Club, a lunch group that meets once a month to discuss fundraising ideas and enjoy international cuisines. “The Ambassadors Club is not just for board members,” Ward said. “It’s for anyone that wants to share ideas and an opportunity for leadership. We all have to do our part to bring money to the school.”

Ward said suggestions to date have tended to reflect the school’s business and entrepreneurial values. For example, he said a Pascagoula Lawyer has spoken with him about using International High as a base for her side business, manufacturing pepper-jelly. Making the school the hub of a “pepper jelly empire,” might not be such a bad idea, board members agreed, given that it would teach students about business and entrepreneurship and also develop skills specific to the cooking, canning, and marketing of the jelly.

The board entertained other ideas after noting that the school lacks the stove that would be needed to produce the jelly. Dwyer suggested the school develop and sell an international cookbook. She said she’d be glad to bring in Ann Benoit, a local cookbook designer with whom she went to high school, to give a presentation.

Ward noted that City Council member Stacey Head had taken a two-hour tour of the school earlier in the day and she, too, offered to lend a hand.

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