BURBANK : Students Learn From AIDS Fund-Raiser

Students in an economics class at Bellarmine-Jefferson High School turned from studies of the dollar and the bottom line Monday to a humanitarian effort to help AIDS research.

For those who pitched in, it was an "A" effort, said teacher Brian VanDerWilt.

"When we got started three weeks ago, we did not know if we were going to pull it off," said Albert Tovar, president of Carnival of Hope, the classroom project that raised about $1,600 for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Rap music sounded at the Catholic school's playground Monday afternoon as teachers took turns in the dunking booth and students played in a volleyball tournament.

Also on hand were three comedians from HBO, radio personalities Kevin and Bean from KROQ, and Jamie Lunar, a co-star on the television show, "Just the Ten of Us."

The students, all seniors in their last week of class, had to work hard to find celebrities as well as donations and discounts on needed equipment, food and supplies.

"It's a lot better than I thought it would be," said Tina Kelly, working the ticket booth next to classmate Raffi Bandarian.

"It makes you feel better inside knowing it's going for a good cause," Bandarian said.

The Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a nationwide group based in Santa Monica that raises money for Pediatric AIDS research.

The students learned a lot of lessons along the way, VanDerWilt said, such as how much paperwork is needed to affiliate themselves with the Pediatric AIDS Foundation to make a donation.

Then, there was the near snag in getting a permit from the city. Tovar said students were unable to reach the proper city officials until Monday, who then told them that permits usually take 1 1/2 months. But with some scrambling, the approvals came through, he said.

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