South City High's Earth Club took advantage of the Bay Area's Indian summer, which typically occurs in the fall, to host the 16th annual Dinner in the Dark fundraiser at the school's outdoor learning space in October 2023.
The annual event is designed to promote environmental awareness and featured performances by the South City High jazz band..
Proceeds enable the Earth Club to fund a camping trip for students each year.
The school's outdoor learning space opened on May 18, 2022.
The area was the brainchild of South City High teacher Rhonda Clements, who worked with Green Schoolyards America and South San Francisco Unified School District's (SSFUSD) facilities department during the COVID-19 pandemic to create the space in conjunction with that year's edition of the Earth Club.
"This space is the result of a convergence of events," said Clements. "I've wanted to create a space for Earth Club for over 16 years, but I never found the will or the group of kids who were willing to push through and help me finish the project."
Earth Club President Finley Anne Liquete ('22) and Vice President Rachel Le ('22) were members of San Mateo County's Youth Climate Ambassadors (YCA) Leadership Program during the 2021-22 school year.
Designing and building the outdoor learning space not only helped them fulfill YCA's requirement to complete a community-based project to promote environmental sustainability, it also served as a way to overcome the social isolation associated with the pandemic and online learning.
“I wanted to start the space to provide a safe environment for students to learn and for community to gather together,” Liquete said.
Culinary art students now grow their own herbs and vegetables, and many of the school’s teachers have found creative ways to shift their classes outside.