Wellesley College raises funds for local school

“For the last three months, Year 4 students at a Lower Hutt school have been frantically fundraising to buy bikes – but not for themselves.

Two classes at Wellesley College have banded together to help out a nearby school, Randwick College, and are asking people to donate just $1.

And it all started with learning about mindfulness and the vagus nerve.


Year 4 Wellesley College students Eric Zhang, Archie Lowe and Noah Baguley hold a dollar coin over their vagus nerve. The students hope the simple symbol will go viral and help promote their Donate a Dollar Day.

“It’s a nerve that connects your heart and your brain and it sends waves between them. When you do kind things, it strengthens it,” eight-year-old Declan O’Connell said. To “strengthen” that nerve, the Wellesley students decided to do something kind for someone else.

Only about 20 per cent of students at Randwick School had a bike and some had never ridden one before.

“We came up with the idea – why don’t we think of a project this year to help someone?” teacher Gavin Hughes said.

Their idea was simple – another Lower Hutt school, Randwick School was in need of bikes for its students and Wellesley College would help fundraise for them.

The school opened three new bike tracks earlier this year but only around 20 per cent of the school’s 150 students had bikes to use on the track. More than 100 students would be missing out.

The Wellesley College students settled on Donate a Dollar day. On or before September 26, people can donate just $1 to the fundraiser.

The dollar part was important – as Hughes said, it meant a five-year-old’s dollar donation would be just as important as the prime minister’s dollar.

At the end of fundraising, the money would go towards buying bikes and helmets for Randwick School students.

The general class consensus was riding bikes could help with mental health, physical health and – perhaps more importantly – it was fun.

The boys from Wellesley College recently visited Randwick School to meet the students and try the track for themselves, which spurred on their altruistic goals.

Randwick students had been dropping flyers and putting up posters about Donate a Dollar day and the Wellesley students had started approaching famous sports people, family and friends to get people involved. They also set up a Facebook page and Instagram account.

The Year Four students started taking photos of people holding a dollar over their vagus nerve and so far had pulled in people such as  All Blacks Ardie Savea and National Party leader Simon Bridges.

Donations to Donate a Dollar day can be made directly into this bank account: 06-0501-0826230-10 or else people can take up a cash collection around an office, class or home and pass the donations on.”