Student Spotlight: Leela Hart

In an impromptu fundraiser, Burroughs student collected donations for a Northside food shelf

Name: Leela Hart


What she did: For the past several years, Joyce Lasser's first grade students have put on a "wax museum" where they research a famous historical figure, then dress up as them and make a presentation in character for visiting parents. True to her chosen role in the presentation as Eleanor Roosevelt, Leela Hart decided to collect donations for the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center's food shelf while she told "museum" visitors all about the former First Lady's life and work.

While her dad, East Harriet resident Donovan Hart, initially pitched the idea to her—"Of course, Eleanor wouldn't waste an opportunity to collect funds for a needy cause," as he put it—Leela Hart immediately took a shine to this way of taking her portrayal of Roosevelt one step further.

"(I liked the idea) because I help other people. We have money and don't really need all of it," Leela explained. "We can be nice to people."

"I don't really know where she got this idea that 'We have money and don't need all of it,'" her father said with a smile. "Perhaps she was answering the question in character?"

The "museum" lasted only 45 minutes, but by the end, Leela had managed to collect $50 in donations from visiting parents and teachers. 

Leela said she was inspired to play Roosevelt because of her prolific activism and achievements.

"I didn't want to be someone who did only one thing," she said. "And I wanted to be someone who was important. She did lots of things in her life."


Ed. Note: Thanks to reader Donnovan Hart, who tipped us off to his daughter's efforts, and helped us get photos and interview his daughter.


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