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Huffington Post 'Greatest Person of the Day'

Charlotte Schofield decided to throw an elaborate Sweet 16 birthday party for herself, but there's something different about this extravaganza.

Editor's note, Feb. 9: We're happy to report that Huffington Post has chosen Somerville's Charlotte Schofield as today's "Greatest Person of the Day." You can check out Schofield and other greatest people of the day here.

Charlotte Schofield, a Somerville High School student, recently held a huge bash at The Center for Arts at the Armory, a local venue that looks like a small castle, complete with a red carpet entrance, a paparazzi-style photographer and a dress code. The 150-some-odd guests came dressed in black and white, except for Schofield, who wore pink.

It was much like a scene from MTV's "My Super Sweet 16," a show that follows spoiled, bratty teenagers as they plan lavish Sweet 16 birthday parties. But there was one big difference: Schofield used her Sweet 16 party to raise over $1,000 for Boston Children's Hospital, and her guests brought gifts, not for her, but for sick children being treated at the hospital.

Charlotte's Sweet 16 party

Schofield, who just turned 16, is a fan of the MTV series, and she was inspired to throw her own version of an elaborate Sweet 16 party.

Instead of receiving over-the-top gifts of jewels and cars, however, Schofield thought, "I might as well give it away."

She chose Children's Hospital because she "likes" the organization on Facebook, she said, and she loves children.

With help from her mother, Eileen Schofield, and a group of friends, she set a goal of raising $1,000.

The party, held Feb. 3, "went really well," the 16-year-old said. In addition to financial donations, guests brought about $1,000 worth of toys for kids—"very well thought out presents," Schofield said. Her mother explained that people gave gifts appropriate for children staying at a hospital, such as stuffed animals, books and games.

Dana Rogers, a development associate at the hospital, said Schofield received over 700 donations online and has so far raised over $1,000, more than the original goal. (Online fundrasing is ongoing until Feb. 15).

"She's a super mature, generous young lady," Rogers said. "[She] and her mother were just a pleasure to work with."

Revealing the big gift

On Feb. 20, Schofield, along with some of her friends who were "key in helping organize the event," will visit the hospital, Rogers said. They'll participate in the presentation of one of those large prop checks; they'll deliver toys, and they'll take a tour of the hospital to learn about the programs their fundraising has helped sustain.

"I'm really excited. I just think it's so nice," Schofield said of her upcoming visit to the hospital. "We just love kids."

When she's not partying

When not raising money for a local institution, the Schofields can sometimes be seen volunteering elsewhere in the city. They've helped out at the food pantry, and they participate in things like park cleaning and spring planting. Not bad for a young woman who moved to Somerville from New York about a year and a half ago.

A few days after her big "My Super Sweet 16" bash, Schofield celebrated her actual birthday, which fell on a school night. She celebrated at home over some Chinese food and a giant cupcake, and she did receive some gifts: a book, a necklace, episodes of the Cartoon Network's "Adventure Time" and a wallet "that I'm pretty excited about," Schofield said. It's interesting to see what different people do with their wallets.

Annon February 09, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Well Happy Sweet 16! And how sweet you made it. You gave me a native New Yorker, a pleasant gift of your unselfishness and what a pleasure to smile about something so rewarding as to give from yourself. Many wishes and much gratitude for Childrens Hospital is a soft spot for me and absoulutely a perfect choice. God Bless!
Julie Wagoner February 09, 2012 at 11:13 PM
What a beautiful way to celebrate a birthday! This is truly inspiring.
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