Chilly temperatures did not stop students and community members from enthusiastically shopping at the inaugural Trojan Flea Market on Saturday, April 15, 2023.
Twenty-four vendors, including nine CVHS clubs, began setting up their wares at 7:30 a.m. in CVHS’ parking lot. By the time the market closed at noon, the clubs alone had earned around $2,000 in sales, which will go to support activities and causes.
The Indigenous Peoples Club, for instance, will donate all proceeds made from selling cookies, coffee, and club members’ artwork to the American Indian Child Resource Center. For club president and junior Tzintzuni Tohlakai, participating in the flea market meant raising awareness.
“I think it’s really important to have recognition of Indigenous people in the Bay Area and how they’re still thriving. It’s a forgotten topic that we need to discuss more often.” She happily noted that “a lot of people came by today. It was really nice to see their interest in the community.”
Participation by clubs like Tohlakai’s was not possible under the flea market’s predecessor, the yard sale. In past years, community members dropped off unwanted items for the leadership class to sell, with proceeds going to CVHS. Unfortunately, half of the items dropped off last year were never purchased and instead ended up at a thrift store, recycling plant, or landfill.
Besides reducing waste, the flea market was envisioned as a way to increase community involvement and better highlight the Trojan spirit. The leadership fundraising commissioners reached out to CVHS clubs as well as the Castro Valley Forum, advertising the simple process of filling out a Google form and paying a $15 fee to get a booth.
“At one point we had four groups signed up and I was worried we were just going to flop,” recalled activities director Thomas Maloney. Eventually, sign-ups increased and the event pulled through. “I think that for the first year we did a decent job. Obviously, we have areas of growth.” He hopes that more outreach and advertisement to the school community will bring a larger turnout next year.
Because vendors are allowed to keep any profits they earn, Maloney enticed the flea market to clubs as a great opportunity to fundraise by selling items personal to them.
The variety of goods for sale impressed many Castro Valley residents, including Jay Benson, who browsed the market with his dog, Piper.
“It’s interesting to see all the different tables out here. I like learning about the different clubs,” reflected Benson. “They have a lot of unique items and they’re raising money for good causes.”
CVHS senior Gia Mitra purchased jewelry, garments, and a plushie from different vendors. She praised the flea market as a way for Castro Valley residents “to get their workout and support” small artists.
There was a surprising number of tables run by individual CVHS students “just trying to show off what they make,” Maloney observed. “That’s an incredible thing that we’ve never tapped into as a school community before.”
One such vendor was junior Hannah Kinsley, who sold small crocheted clothing and accessories. Across the aisle, sophomore and small business owner Joy Wong sold hand-made necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and keychains.
Vendors also included small businesses owned by community members unaffiliated with CVHS. Jing Liu participated in the market to introduce her healing services and tarot card reading to community members.
“This event is fun! I have met so many new people already,” she commented, noting that the market’s youthful energy “is helping me to stay warm.”
By the end, many vendors were happy with their results from the market. CVHS’ Cook to Connect, an international cultural cooking club that sold a variety of dishes ranging from butter mochi and tiramisu to blini (Russian pancakes) and elote (grilled Mexican street corn), was delighted to reach its fundraising goal.
“We didn’t expect much today, but we’re actually really glad about the turnout,” said junior Sofia Ortiz, who serves as Cook to Connect co-president alongside junior Naomi Quibodeaux.
Customers and vendors alike look forward to seeing the market grow in the future.
When asked if they will return next year, Ortiz and Quibodeaux represented everyone’s feelings with their emphatic response: “Absolutely!”