SAN MARCOS — On a regular weekend, the parking lot at San Marcos High School is quiet and largely unoccupied. This past Saturday, however, the area was filled with life as students gathered with friends and small businesses sold handmade goods and food to hundreds of attendees.
The school grounds were the site of a farmer’s market benefit event organized by students in teacher Tara Razi’s U.S. history class, with proceeds going toward the global clean water nonprofit, water.org.
The idea for the market was born back in October when Razi tasked her students with identifying a global and local issue and writing about how they would address it. The class then voted on one local and one global cause to support via volunteering and fundraising, and they selected the San Diego Humane Society and water.org.
“The kids wanted to do something where the community could come together and help the businesses impacted by COVID,” Razi said. “The market was all them — they were the ones reaching out to vendors and small businesses.”
Dozens of booths run by local businesses as well as students selling their handmade wares were set up in rows. Members of the school’s art club pulled together a table with their own paintings and digital prints for sale, as well as a station for attendees to make their own buttons and keychains.
Senior Thomas Williams used the market as an opportunity to officially launch his business, Thomas Doodles, selling hand-painted canvas tote bags. He was also eager to support water.org once he heard the event would benefit that cause in particular.
“That’s the one that intrigued me,” he said of the nonprofit.
Many of the vendors were also relatives or friends of San Marcos High School students and alumni. Yaeko Sato said she decided to sell her handmade masks, tablecloths and pouches, many in traditional Japanese kimono-style prints, at the event after hearing about it from her kids, who are current and former SMHS students.
“Customers usually come online, but it’s nice to see the customers in person. I’m so happy that my daughter and her friends came,” Sato said.
All of Razi’s U.S. history students were in attendance to volunteer at the event. Junior Kayla Langis said she and her classmates were relieved to see it all come together and excited to have such a good turnout.
“It’s really nice to see everyone coming together and everything actually coming to life … and to see all the hard work coming together,” she said.
Langis also took the lead in organizing activities and volunteering for the class’s project involving the Humane Society. She and other students organized a supplies drive for the animals, created handmade dog bandanas and toys, started an Instagram account featuring a “Pet of the Week,” and spent time with animals at the shelter, along with raising hundreds of dollars for their operations.
“We tried to do a bunch of things to help them out,” she said.
San Marcos Unified School District Superintendent Andy Johnson said it has been exciting to see events returning to the campus this year following COVID-19 shutdowns, from fall athletics to new student activities like the market.
“As the months go by, more and more events start happening. It’s been phenomenal, and it feels more and more like normal,” Johnson said.