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1110 College NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503



Filtering by Tag: appeal

Working Together

Elizabeth Topliffe

I get by with a little help from my friends
— The Beatles

by Elizabeth Topliffe, Head of School

A few weeks ago, I wept at work. That’s not my usual style, so let me fill you in.

The elementary students were auditioning for our spring opera, Sing Me Home. Every student gets a part, and the auditions are used to help cast roles. It is a pretty vulnerable experience. The students had all been practicing together We are All One Family, one of the main songs for the opera. This practice had been happening for weeks. Now, though, each student sang the song solo in front of the entire elementary student body. I can’t imagine singing in a front of my peers, especially in a solo manner.

One of our first year friends stood in front of the group. The music came around, but she did not sing. The music came around again, and still she did not sing. The kids started calling out encouragement, but it was clearly one of those overwhelming moments, and she was not going to sing.

Then, one of the upper elementary students stood up. He walked over to our friend and said, “Can I sing with you?” Together, standing shoulder to shoulder, they sang the song. It was the ultimate example of what happens when one person joins another. What was overwhelming in one moment became manageable with some help.  After singing together, our younger friend sang it on her own, with courage and bravado, and with the knowledge that a friend was with her.

This was a powerful testament to the power of help and partnership. Those things that we cannot do alone, we can do together. This, more than any performance is the power of opera. And, I was weeping with just how powerful that moment was.

Right now, our school is in a similar moment. We need your help to do something that we cannot do on our own. In the next couple days, you will be receiving a letter from another parent asking you to join them in supporting our Spring Appeal for the Lifelong Learning Fund.

This appeal is our school’s largest fundraiser, and it helps cover the gap between tuition and the cost of operating the school. The funds raised directly support opera, teachers’ professional development, and financial aid. For a small school like Stepping Stones, every dollar matters. Most of the gifts we receive are smaller gifts, and those add up to create great opportunities like the one I mentioned above. Like I said, we cannot do this without you.

In fact, our most important goal with regard to this years’ Spring Appeal is to have a majority of our families participate. Even better, we have a $37,000 matching fund for donors through the end of May! That means that every gift—whether it is $5 or $5,000 will be matched dollar for dollar and will be doubled.

I hope you’ll join me in making this a great Spring Appeal! Keep an eye out during carline and on our Facebook for progress metrics! Thanks for standing with us and for jumping in with our school. We appreciate all the many ways you’re our partner in our endeavors.

I hope to see you at 6 PM this Friday, May 11, for our opera. I can assure you that every student in the performance has the support of their friends and fellow-students!