Fullerton : Students Raise $4,275 for Statue of Liberty

Eighth-grader Mike Bradley wrote of his great-great-grandparents escaping Ireland’s potato famine and a great-grandmother emigrating from Hungary in 1906.

Seventh-grader Heather Johnson had a similar tale of her great-grandmother. Like other students’ ancestors, Mike’s and Heather’s families encountered a statue at the end of their long voyage.

“She stood on the deck, waiting for a glimpse of the new land. The first thing she saw was a beautiful statue, torch in hand, beckoning her toward freedom. This woman was my great-grandmother. But there were many like her, scared and bewildered but given hope by this noble statue,” wrote Heather, from Fullerton’s Nicolas Junior High School.

To help restore the statue that many of the 750 students at the Fullerton school associated with their ancestors’ arrival in the United States, the school recently raised $4,275 for the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation. The students also participated in an essay contest titled “Thank You, Lady Liberty.”


By saving their nickels and dimes, the students surpassed their goal of raising $2,000, said Norene Stephenson, one of the school’s social science teachers who spearheaded the drive.

“We have opportunities and freedoms here that we take for granted, that other countries only dream about. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of those freedoms and something we should all cherish and appreciate. . . . We should all be involved for keeping her safe for generations to come,” Mike wrote.

Mike and Heather each placed first in the eighth- and seventh-grade divisions. Second- and third-place eighth-grade winners were Diana Ferm and Katheryn Gulden, respectively. Second- and third-place seventh-grade winners were Shawn Kibel and George Heinige, respectively.