ESD Senior Teaches Peers to Think Globally

A $12 donation can equip a Syrian refugee with textbooks and pencils for an entire year. For $240, you can provide an education for 20 refugees.

This is just one of the ways Tilley Neuhoff, an ESD senior, is helping others less fortunate than her. At the beginning of the school year, Neuhoff began the organization Students in Action, which aims to inform other students about world events.

At the club’s first meeting, Neuhoff gave a presentation on the Syrian refugees. The club members then decided to host a bake sale and donate the $240 raised to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which puts the money toward helping provide them with an education.

Tolly Salz, an English teacher at ESD and club sponsor of Students in Action, said she spoke with a representative from UNHCR who was blown away by the students’ generosity.

“The woman started crying and said, ‘OK, that a high school student could have that compassion for another child all the way across the world and understand the power of education, I mean that’s huge,’” Salz said.

The idea for the club came when Neuhoff watched a video on Syrian refugees in French class. While it was intended to test the students’ comprehension of another language, Neuhoff became interested in the subject matter.

“My main goal (with the club) is to educate all my peers and to help out a really important cause if we can, but I just want people to be informed about what’s going on and know they can make a difference if they want to,” said Neuhoff, a three-sport athlete in field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse, who also is involved in National Honor Society.

Neuhoff said she wants other students to present on topics that are important to them. She hopes as word spreads, more students will become interested.

“I feel like (learning about world affairs) gives you a better perspective and makes you more grateful for what you have,” Neuhoff said. “If you just think your life is terrible or something and then you hear about kids dying because they’re stuck in a civil war, it just puts it in perspective of how lucky we are and it helps other people to know if you’re lucky, you should help other people have a better chance in life.”

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