Newspaper Fund Drives

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A conversation I had earlier with author of the Philippine Rabbit reminded me of one the regular school fund raising practices of our time: Newspaper Fund Drives (NFD).

In case you're not from around, or if you're from a rich school, or if you belong to the new generation schools that have discarded this practice, NFD's are fund raising activities that rely on students bringing in as much recyclable paper as they can in the form of newspapers, magazines and other paper articles that will be sold to the junk shop for money that will be used for whatever purpose (usually outreach missions and Lindsay Custodio + AngTV kids concerts)

Done yearly, it's one of the few opportunities where students can try out a possible career option just in case they fuck up once too much in school: dyaryo-bote-garapa liason (i.e. basurero).

Anyway, I remember this being a problem when I was a kid since only 1 newspaper comes into our house everyday and I have two sisters who also need newspapers since their NFD's usually coincide with mine. Added to that problem, collection is EVERY week, and usually as incentives, teachers give hefty bonuses for people who are unable to bring newspapers. Here are some example bonuses that I have encountered for not being able to bring wads of paper to school:

- Getting assigned as cleaner for the whole week. If you're the only person who didn't bring newspapers, you're classroom janitor for 5 days.

- Minus points in the next Religion exam. I swear this happens a lot. Reasoning? Not helping raise funds is unchristian-like. I know, WTF.

- Getting fined ridiculous amounts of money, which goes to the class fund. (not the drive fund because money is equated to laziness, at least according to our teachers)

That given, the whole thing becomes less of a "bring stuff for a cause" and more of a "make sure you have enough for the duration of this activity or we're all dead" kind of thing.

Conservatives might argue that the point of the whole thing is for us to be "proactive" and start asking neighbors for newspapers. Sane people like me would reply that no amount of newspaper can top being called "basurero" by these neighbors and that those neighbors probably have kids that need newspaper as well.

And since I've had this kind of activity for 10 years, I've also come across (and made up some of my own) techniques to ensure survival during this time of need. Here are some of the more ingenious methods:

- Buy new newspaper on the way to school. This is actually a desperate move as it is expensive and the teacher is quick to notice that all of the newspapers you have are of the same date - the date that day. I've made it work several times, though I'd not recommend it as it drains your savings that you could've spent for arcade games.

- Buy newspapers from friends. Cheaper than the first technique. Years of NFD's resulted in people establishing a hidden underground economy of buying/selling newspapers before they get donated. I know people who actually bring to school more than enough newspapers just to resell them to people too lazy to bring their own (i.e. me) Prices tend to rise quickly as the fund drive progresses as paper becomes harder and harder to come by.

- Donate your own books. Not recommended. We have enough stupid people already. If you really need to, donate the book of some random classmate.

- Get from stash of the newspapers on the other classrooms or on your own (if unguarded) Since the school-wide collections of newspapers by the school occur only once every few weeks, all those newspaper ain't going nowhere after you submit them to your teacher, effectively turning classrooms into an arsonist's wet dream. It's often possible to just sneak into the stocks and just "redonate" some of them. Be warned though that teachers are familiar with this and they will try to use counter methods such as painting the sides of the newspapers RED as what happened once in my class.

None of those methods are fool-proof. In the end, what usually happens is that I end up buying from junkshops the newspapers that I will give the class adviser so the school can sell them to the same junkshops for profit. All because they think cash donations makes students lazy.

And then there's the mounds of newspapers. You can say they affected my learning through the years. Half of sex education I learned in school came from tabloid articles we managed to read through the years. (*cough* dearpeterxerexxaviera*cough*) Cooperative research by my definition involved scavenging nudie pics from tabloids and placing them strategically inside the book covers of my classmates for the teachers to find. Good stuff.

After a while, all that rotten paper stored inside classrooms will cause basic hygiene to degenerate followed by overall living conditions going slum-low. The teachers will then decide to sell the newspapers already (this event is usually preceded by a series of people falling sick from malaria or some shit you only get in very dense, dirty areas). Before selling, we usually moisten the newspapers.

I learned from NFD's that wet newspapers weigh much heavier than dry newspapers and the best way to apply it is using a spray can, to make sure it doesn't drip. Profit.

The junkyard vendors them drop by and ask us students to haul the shit they already bought into trucks like the junkyard boys we're supposed to be learning to become through that activity. And then I tell myself, "Why do I get the feeling that I'll be buying all these stuff again for next year?"

Chances are, one year after telling myself that, I probably did.


rei said...

gaaah! i looove this post,.

gee reminds me of that school,./pif

all the points mentioned were true,. Oh well,. except the 'xerex' part for me,. haha

worst case for me:
I got 84 in values education and other related GMRC blah blah grades (what a great basis for grades)

my moneeey~ grr

"I end up buying from junkshops the newspapers that I will give the class adviser so the school can sell them to the same junkshops for profit."

~ well said,.. ahuhu

andycarps said...

parang tinamaan ata ako dun sa "nagnanakaw sa other classrooms"!

wla k bng new ym id? add mo ulit ako

kita kits!!!

andy said...


Kyle said...

Lucky for me it turns into an inter-class competition in our elementary school. And I happen to have a rich schoolmate who brings in a whole pick-up's worth of newspapers during each counting. This tends to dampen my teacher's enthusiasm which allowed me to get away with not bringing any newspaper at school for my last 2 years of stay.


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