-By Maddy Batt-
When Michaela Morrow, Class of 2013, first heard about the Big Brother Big Sister (BBBS) coat drive and contest, she had very little hope. “Honestly I was disappointed,” she says, “because I thought that, with Winsor being such a small school, we would never have a chance and I doubted that we would even be allowed to participate.” Luckily for all Winsor girls, she quickly overcame her doubts and, with the help of Collect, she brought Mix 104.1’s contest to Winsor.
As an Ed Sheeran fanatic, I was immediately enthralled by the possibility of my favorite artist performing in our assembly; however, in the first few days of the competition, my enthusiasm was constantly dampened by realists, both well-meaning and cynical. “Remember, you do go to quite a small school,” my mother cautioned me as I excitedly informed her of the contest. “It’s not like we have a chance,” other students repeated whenever it came up in conversation. Truthfully, I felt the same. How could we, a school of fewer than 500 girls, possibly compete with the vast, intimidating public schools— I imagined them as small cities—who were also dropping everything to collect coats? I, like so many others, reckoned without the incredible drive and passion of a Winsor fangirl.
In the weeks of the competition, Winsor girls alternated between studying for exams and digging through their closets and calling up their friends. They braved freezing weather to put flyers in mailboxes, picked up coats from strangers’ houses, and even took to Twitter to see whether flattering Mix 104.1’s radio hosts could help. Some students brought in individual totals of 50, 90, or 100 coats and sweatshirts. Kathleen Hart, Class of 2015, even wrote a letter which was written on the radio. Click here to hear it.
With every Facebook post and homeroom announcement, the number on the home-made coat counter increased. Before long, it was nearly impossible to walk through the hallway; the pile of coats had become a minor explosion of the “gently used.” Carol Renneburg, Class of 2013, recalls that “the entire back area of the [senior] homeroom was overflowing with trash bags filled with coats. I had to literally dig my backpack out from under the mountain when I accidentally left it on the floor one morning!” Michaela Morrow admits that she “had initially set the goal at 1500 coats as a way of motivating people, and hardly anyone thought that that was a feasible goal.” Yet by the end of the contest, Winsor girls had collected over 2,800 coats, or about six per student; incredibly, we, five hundred girls, lost by only 50 coats to a school with nearly double our student population.
Despite our disappointment, we have done something to be proud of. Admittedly, we did not win, but before you break out the ice cream and put “The A-Team” on repeat, remember the enormous difference we have made. Not only have we surpassed everyone’s expectations, but we have made a huge contribution to BBBS. Ed Sheeran or no Ed Sheeran, Winsor girls’ dedication and generosity have helped thousands of kids in the Boston area.