By: Kevin He
May 17, Mission San Jose High School hosted a charity concert and fundraiser on behalf of the nonprofit organization “Not For Sale,” an anti-human-trafficking movement that focuses on raising awareness “to benefit enslaved and vulnerable communities” (from the NFS website). Headed by Government/Economics teacher Jaime Richards and organized by his students, the Not For Sale (NFS) concert brought in a talented cast of singers, musicians, and speakers from both MSJ and other local high schools to perform and fundraise for the NFS movement.
Government/Economics teacher Jaime Richards planned the NFS concert both as an interesting lesson for his students about the disconcerting prevalence of modern slavery, and as a hand-on experience in organizing and promoting a large-scale fundraising event on a very tight schedule. Mr. Richards allowed his students to volunteer for and head different committees, like publicity, food sales, and talent searching, and closely monitored and facilitated their efforts over the two-week preparatory period. All students were encouraged to use their “social capital,” or social influence, to bring in as many concertgoers as possible and fundraise for a valuable cause.
The audience, which included four school board members, the principal of MSJ, and Fremont’s mayor pro-tempore Anu Natarajan, was seated in the decorated C-120. Senior class student hosts Gigi Hsu and Ilene Tsao started off the concert by introducing the NFS movement with a short montage on human trafficking. The Syncopasians, a MSJ student-run acapella group, then officially began the show with rousing renditions of “Neon” by John Mayer, “Rocketeer” by Far East Movement, and more. Several other MSJ student artists, including musical trio Double TB, beat boxers Ryan Yung and Ashwin Shailesh, singer PriyaVijaykumar, and many other talented musicians rocked the stage with an equally talented and diverse series of guest artists including Harry Liu from Irvington High School and local bay area band Social Stereo.
The night ended with the two hosts raffling off an iPod, several gift certificates, and a mix of other goodies, including a Chipotle gift basket and an express ticket to MSJHS’s upcoming TEDx (technology, entertainment, and design) venue, a student-run guest speaker conference. Senior Justin Chen then said a last farewell to the audience before they took their leave with his powerful prose poem “Episode II”. With only two weeks to prepare for the event, Mr. Richards’s Government/Economics classes were able to put together an incredible benefit concert for the NFS movement, while providing an exciting and memorable night for the entire audience.