Dunsmuir middle school students Raven Castle-Griffey

Purple paperclip helps to bring in the cash

Four Dunsmuir middle school students are hoping a purple paperclip will pay for their band trip.

Four Dunsmuir middle school students are hoping a purple paperclip will pay for their band trip.

Thirteen-year-old Raven Castle-Griffey has been playing the flute for four years and is excited to go to nationals in Richmond in May.

In need of money, she grabbed a purple paperclip from her kitchen after her mother convinced her to try the unorthodox form of fundraising.

“My mom told me do it. I thought she was crazy,” said Castle-Griffey. “I though what would people want with a paperclip?”

Castle-Griffey, Summer Gomolchuk, Lyndsay Dagg and Amanda Wells used the paperclip to start trading up for more valuable items, hoping to eventually end up with something worth $2,200, their fundraising goal.

After creating a Facebook group, the young teen made her first trade for a $5 Thrifty Foods gift card. Then a family friend saw the post and offered a Groupon for two return flights to Tofino worth about $400.

Now the group are looking for a trade up. They have been offered six-months of belly dance lessons for the flights, but they are holding off as it’s more a “lateral” trade than a “bigger and better offer.”

If their goal is exceeded, they will use the extra money to help cover costs for other students in the program.

About 120 students have qualified for the nationals from the beginning band, concert band, jazz band, vocal jazz and concert choir at Dunsmuir middle school in Colwood.

Aside from competing at the national level the students will get to take part in workshops and seminars, learning from accomplished musicians.

The school needs $40,000 to cover registration and travel expenses for the students.

“We qualify for nationals almost every year, but normally we can’t go because it’s too far away,” said Karen Snowsell, music teacher.  In recent years the nationals have been held in Ontario and Quebec.

The last year Dunsmuir students attended the nationals was in 2003, when it was last held in Richmond.

Aside from the experiences, Snowsell explained the preparation for nationals really helps the young musicians step up their game and hone their skills.

Students are also selling chocolates and hosting bottle drives to raise as much money as they can.

Whatever the students are not able to raise will have to be passed on to their families to pay. Each child is required to generate $550.

For more information or to offer a trade email biggerandbetterbandfundraiser@gmail.com or go to the Facebook page facebook.com/biggerorbetterbandfundraiser