GHS Cardinal Crazies rally schoolmates to support hospital

Greenwich High School seniors donate food to hospital workers during the COVID-19 crisis

Jack Doss and Michael Grabel always assumed that the last few months of their Greenwich High School careers would be filled with the time-honored traditions of senior year. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic halting their plans, the duo turned a disappointing situation into something positive for their classmates and community.

As two of the five leaders of the Cardinal Crazies — the school’s largest student club—the pair are as nimble as they are optimistic. Unable to lead the club’s normal school spirit activities, they decided to harness the enthusiasm of their peers into a community fundraiser.

“We had the idea together. We were on Facetime and thought, ‘Could we technically do a fundraiser – a distance one?’” said Michael.

Historically the club would stand in front of the student section during sporting events, lead chants, post on social media about sports,” said Jack. “We realized we had this huge platform and had to put it to use.”

Their first experience with fundraising took place this past fall. The club created merchandise with local vendors to sell during one of the largest school football games, raising $1,000 for Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Months later, in the midst of a pandemic, Jack and Michael wanted to do something for the doctors, nurses and staff at their own hospital in Greenwich. They decided upon a series of fun-filled, student activities and challenges.

Each day the club hosted a different theme, engaging students who either donated money to participate or enlisted pledge sponsors. For example, Marathon Monday asked students to commit to a type of exercise and gather pledges from family and friends. Other activities included a video game tournament, Karaoke and a virtual bingo game. The final day involved the club’s organizers completing a series of challenges such as a polar plunge and ice bucket challenge. Jack dyed his hair red.

Michael and Jack couldn’t believe how fast their peers stepped up to help, and within a week the club had raised more than $11,000.

“Our goal for the week was to raise $3,000. On just Monday alone we raised $6,200,” said Jack. “I am overwhelmed myself. We did not expect this.”

“We had people who aren’t avid sports fan, but were sending videos of themselves running the miles – they really wanted to be part of community,” Michael said.

The pair reached out to Greenwich restaurants they frequent, who quickly partnered with them to provide dozens of meals for the hospital – all at a discount.

The Cardinal Crazies fundraiser provided five days of meals for hospital staff, as well as a donation to the Greenwich Hospital Covid-19 Support Funds. The club will also purchase food for the organization, Neighbor to Neighbor.

Although the end of their senior years did not go as planned, Jack and Michael said they’ve never felt closer to their classmates or their hometown.

“It really has been so inspiring that during a time of crisis we can come together as a community,” said Michael.