With more than 40 model airplanes, half a jar full of soda-can tabs, 20 baseballs, 35 coins and bills from other countries, 21 wind-up toys, two vintage video cameras and six still cameras, and 15 ladybug-themed items, Country Day students have many unusual collections.
Freshman Alex Rogawski received his first model airplane from his grandfather when he was 9 years old.
Now, with 40-50 of them, Rogawski has been expanding his collection ever since.
Many of his models are quite rare, such as his Delta Airline Boeing 757 and 767.
“They are worth a lot because either the plane itself doesn’t really exist anymore (in real life), or the place where I buy them from doesn’t manufacture them anymore,” Rogawski said.
He buys his models pre-built online from GeminiJets and Phoenix Model.
Rogawski isn’t the only one with a collection. Of 124 high school students polled, 37 have one.
Ever since the first home run that freshman Nate Jakobs hit when he was 9, he has been collecting those home run baseballs.
“I have hit around 38 home runs, and have about 20 of the balls,” Jakobs said.
He also has three foul balls and one home run ball that he has caught at major league, minor league and spring training games. On top of that, Jakobs has a few baseballs that he has gotten signed, including one by Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda.
All of Jakobs’s baseballs are in his room, with his favorite ones in individual cases.
Senior Saachi Sikaria has been collecting different currencies since she was in fourth grade.
She gets the bills and coins from the countries she visits. Occasionally her grandfather will give her bills and coins from countries he has visited.
“It shows me more of each of the countries,” Sikaria said.
“I like to compare different currencies from the countries and figure out which people are on them.
“There are presidents and symbols on them. On the United Arab Emirates bill, there is a falcon and different plants. On the Hong Kong bill there is a lion and people’s signatures.”
The lion on the Hong Kong bill is a representation of HSBC, a banking company established in Hong Kong.
“The Hong Kong bill is the most interesting because it is made of plastic,” Sikaria said. “Also, it’s extremely colorful with the blue and pink colors.”
The $10 bill is made of plastic to prevent counterfeiting.
Now Sikaria has 18 bills and 17 coins from nine different places: Malaysia, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and China, with the biggest denomination being 1000 colones (about $2) from Costa Rica.
Freshman Ethan Hockridge has a collection of antique cameras, which he’s been accumulating for two years.
“I’ve always had a passion for photography and cameras,” Hockridge said.
“I visited one of my parents’ friends, and he had a collection of vintage cameras. He and I found them fascinating, and so I started collecting them myself.”
Hockridge now has six still cameras and two vintage video cameras. The vintage cameras utilize film, unlike modern digital cameras.
Sophomore Esme Bruce-Romo’s collection of ladybug items was started by her parents before she was even born.
“I have so many objects because my parents used them as the theme for my bedroom when I was a baby,” Bruce-Romo said.
She has about 15 ladybug items, from stickers to candles to a piggy bank.
“I like that there are so many different kinds of objects that I have collected that have to do with ladybugs, but are otherwise nothing alike,” said Bruce-Romo.
“My favorite object is my big ladybug stuffed animal. It’s really soft and comfy, and it was a gift from my mom when I was young.”
Many students used to collect, like junior Natalie Brown. She has 21 wind-up toys in a shoebox in her closet.
According to Brown, she began collecting at age 7 when her family went to Carmel. There, she bought three wind-up toys: a chicken, a sea otter and a frog.
“The next day, I was playing with them on the floor of our vacation house in Santa Cruz when my dad stepped on one of them,” Brown said.
“I cried for the rest of the day, so my dad ordered that same wind-up toy online.
“I started with those three, and then I just kept collecting more and more. I got some for my birthday, and the rest I found at toy stores.
“I kept them in one of those decorative birdcages in my room. I stopped when the birdcage was full, which was when I was 8.”
Brown has a wide variety of wind-up toys, from an elephant that twirls a soccer ball on its nose to a monkey that plays the cymbals.
“My favorite is a seal that spins around with a ball on its nose,” Brown said.
While some collections are worth a lot, others are valuable to only the collector, like sophomore Nina Dym’s collection of soda-can tabs, which she started in seventh grade.
She has a half-full mason jar of the tabs.
“In middle school, everyone was drinking sodas, so I started picking the tabs off,” Dym said. “It was sort of a habit.”
Dym stopped during her freshman year when fewer people were drinking sodas and she lost interest in “collecting.”