High school seniors organize fundraiser to replace custodian’s truck after fire

Two Christian high school seniors near San Diego started a GoFundMe earlier this month to replace a longtime school custodian’s truck after it was destroyed by a fire. The students, Sandy Cameron and Dante Rotchford, witnessed the truck catch fire across the street from the school and immediately began brainstorming ways they might be able to help.

The custodian and groundskeeper, Clemente Mejia, has worked for Santa Fe Christian Schools for 25 years. Rotchford called him a “bright light on our campus.”

The two seniors decided to start the GoFundMe page which went live on a Friday, setting out to raise $10,000. That amount was quickly surpassed, and by the following Monday, enough had been raised to purchase a brand new truck for Mejia. Over 240 donors gave a cumulative total of around $32,000.

In the school’s podcast, the Eagle Perspective, Rotchford and Cameron said that it was truly a group effort to meet the need. They sought to dispel the idea that one generous donor must have come in with a considerable donation. The most significant single gift was a thousand dollars.

Cameron recalled watching the total increase on the fundraising page: “I kept checking the GoFundMe and I was just freaking out…it blew my mind.”

Rotchford added, “As the money kept going up, it was just pure happiness.”

Mejia, completely unaware of the fundraiser, found a ride to work that Monday. Blown away when he heard the news during a school assembly, Mejia said, “It was something that I could not believe…I thank God for all the people who were able to save money for me and may God bless them.” The truck was the only vehicle Mejia’s family owned. 

School custodian Clemente Mejia expresses gratitude in school assembly after he learns of fundraiser.

The school is actively working with a local dealership to get Mejia a new Ford F-150. Cameron stated that it felt good to be able to serve someone who has served their school for so long in a tangible way, while Rotchford said he was overjoyed for him. Mejia simply said, “I feel like part of their family.”

The seniors communicated that the generosity of the community around Santa Fe Christian gave them the confidence that they might make a difference in this situation. They said the community and school would have rallied around anyone in need.