Juneau-Douglas High School has a new way to help fund school activities that is cheap, fashionable and trendy.
Activities assistant Karen A. Boddy ordered 500 red rubber bracelets - similar to the yellow Live Strong bracelets made famous by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong - as a way to help build school unity while raising a few bucks.
"By wearing this stuff they feel all jazzed-up and excited about being involved in their school," Boddy said. "So that's one of the reasons we purchase these things and we're just hoping to get more kids involved."
With many different organizations creating their own bracelets in the wake of Armstrong's highly successful cancer fundraising efforts, Boddy said JDHS hopes to bring a national trend to a local cause.
"That's why we chose them - everyone has the Lance Armstrong ones," she said.
The bracelets are red with black lettering that says "JDHS Crimson Bears." They cost $2 and are available at the activities office. Other merchandise, such as sweatshirts and stickers, is also available at the activities office.
Boddy said all proceeds from the bracelets go to the general activities fund, which primarily goes towards high travel expenditures.
Principal Bernie Sorenson said she has done research on schools of similar size as JDHS and found that the Crimson Bears have the option of participating in more activities than the average campus.
"For that reason there's a lot of cost," she said. "And of course we are conveniently located somewhere you can't get out any way but by boat or plane, so that additionally adds to cost."
Sorenson said activities at JDHS cost a little more that $1 million a year, a good portion of which the community helps pay through fundraising.
"It seems that we have to be very creative so that we're not infiltrating our community in terms of, 'Would you give us some more money?,'" she said. "So hopefully it gets something for the two bucks that they give us."
Senior Karsten Beck said he sees lots of his peers wearing the rubber bracelets for many different social causes. He said wearing them to support JDHS is a good idea.
"It's going to be put to good use, I'm sure, and kids will buy them," Beck said.
Boddy said the bracelets are a cheap and easy way to keep alumni affiliated with the school.
"I'm hoping that the community would like to buy some," she said. "They could also send them off to their kids who just started college."
She added that middle school students might enjoy feeling involved with the high school they will eventually attend.
Sorenson said selling these "spirit bracelets" is just another way to help the school feel connected.
"We're hoping that this can be a very simple way of saying, 'We are one,' and 'I belong,'" she said.
Eric Morrison can be reached at email@example.com.