Maneesha’s Forum’s Pancake Fundraiser

Arista Luong prepares pancake batter

With over $12,000 still needed to fund the construction of the Jones School historical marker, CHS students are working in forums throughout the month to raise cash.

This year, marking 100 years since the opening of Jones school and 50 years of Community High, has been dedicated to commemorating and acknowledging the period Jones School was a pillar in the city’s Black community. Throughout the year, CHS has hosted and will continue to host events leading up to the building of Jones School historical marker.

The goal of the marker is honor the history and legacy of Jones School and the Black community in Ann Arbor and recognize the role the Kerrytown district and its predominantly Black residents had in the city’s history.

The Mankad forum chose to fundraise by sharing a forum tradition with all of CHS: pancakes.

“Making pancakes in our forum has been a long established tradition, something we really enjoy doing as a forum together,” said Maneesha Mankad, CHS math teacher and forum leader. “This is our thing. When we heard about the Jones historical marker fundraiser, we [knew] we were doing our thing, a pancake lunch.”

The forum has chosen this activity for numerous forum days and school-wide events, like senior forumette Arista Luong’s freshman-year Multi-Culti, where the Mankad forum researched and celebrated a British holiday called Pancake Day (taking place on Feb. 21 this year).

That specific celebration bonded Luong with her classmates.

“I think freshman year it really solidified my friendships with the other now-seniors and Walden, who graduated last year,” Luong said. “[Walden] was the big chef for our forum, and so now we’re kind of continuing his legacy by doing this, so it’s really special that we get to do it again.”

This time around, cooking brought a unique challenge for seniors: spork game participants must hold their spork in their hand at all times, or risk being eliminated.

“Holding my spork makes it [cooking pancakes] a little bit more difficult than it would be otherwise,” said Kevin Dutton, another Mankad forum member.

Despite the added hurdle, the chefs cranked out dozens of pancakes adorned with toppings including chocolate chips, whipped cream and Valentine’s day-themed sprinkles.

“Making pancakes helped bring our forum together a lot,” Dutton said. “We’ve been spending a lot of time planning this the last few weeks, everybody in this forum helps support and bring in different items. We’ve worked very hard together to help support the Jones school [fundraiser].”

For the remainder of February, forums will continue to cultivate relationships and compete to achieve the $30,000 fundraising goal via bake sales, can drives and other creative strategies.