S.T.A.R. strives to bring smiles across the faces of refugees


Staff Photo by Abby Dykes

Members of the S.T.A.R. club come together for a meeting to discuss ideas for upcoming events. Co-presidents Josh Potter and Win Taylor lead the meeting.

Yusha Ahsan, Opinions Editor

Students Together Assisting Refugees, commonly known under the acronym, S.T.A.R., is a proactive club at Wakefield High School that creates an atmosphere where students organize donation drives and initiatives to aid refugees in the Raleigh community. 

“We try to raise awareness of the refugee movement to the local community,” senior and co-president Josh Potter said. “We also work with nonprofits to partner [with] on drives.” 

Members of the S.T.A.R. club typically meet once a month at an officer’s house to discuss plans and goals for any upcoming events and keep up to date with recent news regarding refugees. Halley Murphy is a senior in the S.T.A.R. club who further elaborates on the meetings. 

Last year, we were lucky enough to have Thuy Dancik come to speak for our club and share her journey as a Vietnamese refugee,” Murphy said. “[We also] watch recent news videos and discuss what’s happening in the world or speak to those helping out at the borders.”

Senior and co-president Win Taylor explained some upcoming projects the club is working on. Currently, they are working on putting together a new and gently used shoe drive, for which they are aiming high.

“I want to hit the shoe drive off really hard,” Taylor said. “We got over 130 coats [during the coat drive] so I want to see if we can beat that with the shoes.”

In the past, the S.T.A.R. club has assembled toy, coat, food and numerous other drives to assist those less fortunate. Senior Luke DiGiuseppe mentions a specific previous drive where members could accumulate a myriad of items. 

“We participated in the Green Chair Project which collected bedding sets and cleaning supplies,” DiGiuseppe said. “Our members donated 12 sets of bedding and 10 large baskets of cleaning supplies.” 

My first year doing this with my brother, we collected toys and brought them in person to a refugee family, and they were just really happy.

— Taylor

For these students, improving the lives of others and working with like-minded individuals who want to see the community thrive is very valuable. Taylor reflects on his favorite part of participating in the S.T.A.R. club.

“Seeing the help that we can do,” Taylor said. “My first year doing this with my brother, we collected toys and brought them in person to a refugee family, and they were just really happy.” 

Students in this club seek to leave behind a positive impact, while also coming together and working as one. 

“In the case of S.T.A.R. club, students genuinely bond over helping those who need our support,” DiGiuseppe said. “It’s an awesome thing to see members working together for a greater cause.”

At the moment, S.T.A.R. club is hoping to gain more members and convert to meeting directly after school in a classroom. Students can join this club by simply showing up to a meeting and adding themselves to the Remind chat. To join the S.T.A.R. club Remind, text @whsstarc to 81010

“As of right now, our entire club consists of senior members,” Murphy said. “We really need a whole new group of students to carry this club into further years.”