Ready, set, sell! Catholic school students are getting an extra credit assignment that will put money into their pockets for tuition and raise cash for their schools. The Tablet’s Fundraiser for Catholic Schools (formerly The Tablet’s COVID Relief Fundraiser) is back and bigger than ever this year.
The drive launched on Sept. 25 and runs through Oct. 6. During the next two weeks, all the participating schools will compete to sell the most subscriptions or renewals to The Tablet. More than 80% of funds raised will be distributed to the students and their schools.
“It is very exciting to see the students discovering the joy of reporting and writing,” said Tablet Managing Editor Michael Gray. He pointed out the valuable lessons students can learn from familiarizing themselves with The Tablet and Tablet Jr.
He also recalled how selling newspaper subscriptions brought back fond memories of his childhood. “I harken back to my childhood, when I would sell The Tablet outside St. Virgilius Church in Broad Channel,” Gray added.
And in fact, that is precisely what the campaign is all about, having students act as newspaper boys and girls while helping to promote The Tablet, this year’s Catholic Media Association’s Newspaper of the Year award winner, which has been in print since 1908.
At a time when kids aren’t allowed to have paper routes anymore, this is an exciting chance for them to have that experience in a way that is both safe and lucrative for themselves and their schools.
Students will also have the opportunity to read the newspaper and understand stories that are important to their Catholic identity and also help promote their faith outside the classroom.
To help them succeed, participating students were issued a package of materials they can use to sell the benefits of subscribing ($25 for one year) to friends, family, and neighbors.
Top-sellers will win big prizes at the conclusion of the fundraiser — first place is $3,000, second place is $2,000, and third place is $1,000. All other students who sell three or more subscriptions earn $10 for each subscription sold. These funds can be used to help offset tuition costs for the following academic year.
A $3,000 grand prize will also be awarded to the school whose students sell the most subscriptions. Additionally, every school participating in the program will earn $10 for each subscription sold by their students.
Vito Formica, executive director of news content and development at DeSales Media Group, the ministry that produces The Tablet, said the program was designed with great incentives for maximum impact during a time of need.
“If you look at the numbers based on enrollment and schools participating, there is the potential of raising $250,000, all of which will go right back to the students and their schools,” he said. “If we can earn a loyal reader and subscriber out of it, that’s a win-win-win — for the students, schools, and Catholic journalism.”
In addition, DeSales Media created custom websites for each school so their students can simply share a link to sign up with prospective customers. Subscribers can sign up directly online using a credit card and entering the student’s name for credit. If they wish, they can pay by check using a printed form provided by the student.
Chris Scharbach has been principal at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy since 2013. His school has won The Tablet fundraiser for two consecutive years, and Scharbach has been a promoter of Catholic journalism throughout the diocese.
“It seemed only fitting that our students and families would go out and sell subscriptions to The Tablet as a way of evangelizing our Catholic faith,” explained Scharbach.
“There has been so much made about the media over the last few years, and it is excellent for our students and their families to know that there are outlets such as The Tablet.
“Last summer, Pope Francis was quoted as saying, ‘We need media that can help people, especially the young, to distinguish good from evil, to develop sound judgments based on a clear and unbiased presentation of the facts, and to understand the importance of working for justice, social concord, and respect for our common home.’ It is significant that our families and students have access to this type of media via The Tablet.”
Scharbach said that the mission of spreading the word about honest, unbiased journalism should be followed by all educators and emphasized the importance of all schools participating in the campaign.
“We are so looking forward to being a part of this fundraiser once again. Having our whole school community, students, teachers and families help support Catholic journalism once again is a great thing,” Scharbach told The Tablet.
“To add that the students and schools can also raise some money and continue to get the most up-to-date technology in our schools is just the cherry on the top,” he added.
If you want to support Catholic journalism and the schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn, just go to thetablet.org/catholicschoolfundraiser.
There you can sign up for a subscription with the school of your choice.