Cupcakes for a Cause

Students Raise Money for Friend’s Family

The EHS community recently hosted a fundraiser in honor of Justin Koleser ‘22—a former classmate, student-athlete, and friend of current students—who passed away suddenly this past November. Captain of the cheerleading team as well as a varsity swimmer, his friends said that he will be remembered for his bright personality and positivity.

After Koleser’s passing, his family opened up a GoFundme to raise money for his funeral costs. In support, Koleser’s close friend Hiramari Velazquez ‘24 started a fundraiser to help cover some of the expenses. Velazquez sold cupcakes for $1, accepting payments on Venmo, PayPal, and Cashapp. The first round of cupcakes sold out within the first few days.

In order to keep up with demand, Velasquez described “baking until two in the morning and coming to school at seven to set up”. Initially, Velazquez, Eduardo Nunez ‘24 and Sebastian Gonzalez ‘24, were the only ones selling. However, the team soon expanded as Kate Lechelt ‘24, Kamsi Osumba ‘24, Lucca Fasano ’24, and Jordyn La’mar ‘25 joined the effort. Velazquez still retained sole responsibility for baking the cupcakes, however.

“I didn’t feel tired making the cupcakes. And I didn’t have time to eat anything except cupcakes, but what I was doing was so important to me that I never felt tired.” said Velazquez.

By the end of the fundraiser, over 1000 cupcakes were baked and sold and all funeral expenses were covered. The rest of the funds were donated to a youth camp for kids with diabetes that Justin attended.

As it has in the past, in times of tragedy, the EHS community has come together to provide support and make impactful changes. Fundraisers, such as the one hosted by Koleser’s close friends, have been instrumental in channeling positivity in emotional times to help those in need.