The Grand Haven High School Student Senate and students from Peach Plains Elementary School presented the city with a $15,000 check on Monday night. It was the culmination of a variety of fundraising and awareness efforts from the 2016-17 school year.
Jack Plowman, the current president of the high school’s Student Senate, said the fundraising work began in the summer of 2016 when the group was on its annual retreat at the beach for team bonding and to come up with its goals for the upcoming school year.
“At the end, we met up at the end of the catwalk where we met with (City Manager Pat) McGinnis,” Plowman said. “He told us the reality of the situation where, in just a few weeks, it was going to get taken down, and unless we did something to raise money, it was going to be down forever. All of us being locals, and knowing how much it means to us, we couldn’t let that happen. We worked together, and we were thinking, ‘Let’s see what we could do to help stop that.’”
The group then began to brainstorm ideas of how they could help save the catwalk.
“We started with awareness, because you can’t just ask for money if people don’t know what the money is going toward,” Plowman said.
The high school students made presentations to all the elementary schools to show younger kids what was happening to the catwalk, and then began working on fundraising projects that district students could be involved with. Projects last year included a bike tour, merchandise sales, movie nights and market day sales at local elementary schools.
Ryan Haug was one of the elementary school students who participated in a market day at Peach Plains.
“We made our own projects at home and then we brought them to school,” he said. “Then (we) sold them for money to help save the catwalk.”
According to Plowman, that market day alone raised more than $600 for the Save the Catwalk project.
“At the end of this year, we got to be in the parade, which was a blast,” Plowman said. “We sold some stuff during Coast Guard week, which was a great week for us.”
Save the Catwalk organizers continue to fundraise toward the $1 million goal. Money will be used to help pay the cost of removing the catwalk from the pier, fabricating replacement parts and eventually putting the catwalk back on the pier.
For more information on the catwalk effort, visit www.ghcatwalk.org. Donations can be sent to the Save the Catwalk Fund, 1 S. Harbor Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417.