Wednesday Dec 14 2011
Rocklin High brings the mall to the cafeteria
By: Amanda Calzada, Placer Herald Correspondent
Thunder Galleria open to the underprivileged
Looking from the outside in, Rocklin High School’s cafeteria had the ambience and festive energy of a holiday snow globe. Looking from the inside out, the cafeteria was sparkling with seasonal cheer. “It’s just nice to see students interact with young children. I look at youth these days and it’s just heartening,” said one Rocklin woman whose nephew was among the children selected to shop at Thunder Galleria. Named after the high school mascot and the local enterprise, Thunder Galleria was started as a senior project as a way to connect the underprivileged community and student body. It has become a much-anticipated event for the academic community at the high school. During Thunder Galleria, the cafeteria is transformed into a shopping mall with different shops and booths set up and run by student clubs and organizations. Students volunteer as elves to help the children “shop” for new and gently used items using the event’s currency, ThunderBucks. For this year’s Thunder Galleria, the Textile Arts Club members knitted hats, while Peer Counselors organized a book collection drive and California Scholarship Federation members hosted a gift-wrapping station. New this year was a bookmark making booth. Students from the music department played music throughout the event and Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand to pose for photos. Approximately 250 children from Rocklin and Roseville were invited to this year’s Thunder Galleria. Volunteers included faculty members, teachers, and students who helped organize, administer and clean up. While there was a decline in student volunteers and donated items, a large number of recent graduates returned to help out. Parents of shoppers praised the event as being “well-organized” and expressed their appreciation for the generosity of the community. One parent, an alumnus of Rocklin High, said she is thankful for the lasting support Rocklin brings her. “Seeing the joy in each child’s face is such a good feeling,” said senior Angela Bassal, a senior member of the Board of Directors. Members of the Board of Directors began planning the holiday event in May under the supervision of College and Career guidance counselor Cindy Cutts.