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Sandy Journal

Student service: East Midvale kids collect animal supplies for Humane Society

Mar 21, 2019 04:33PM ● By Julie Slama

Indian Hills Middle School teacher Breanna Holtry has her dog pose as a reward for art students to draw after they reached their goal in the school’s second annual Make-A-Wish fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of Indian Hills Middle School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

In 2013, the Alta View student council and their adviser, now former school psychologist Dania Allen, decided to help fundraise for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Little did they know that six years later, their decision was to become an annual tradition.

“What it is, is our students raising money for blood cancer to help find a cure for it,” said Megan Otteson, fourth-grade teacher and student council adviser. 

Alta View, like many schools in the area, help to fundraise for many non-profit agencies. Most common, elementary and middle schools will hold food drives in the fall or warm clothing drives in the winter and provide agencies and shelters items that are needed. High schools participate in fundraisers during the holiday season, often to help the community for those who need a helping hand or need a bright outlook.

Alta View received trophies for being The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s top fundraising school with $10,363 last year and earning the inspiring impact award, but Otteson said that isn’t the point.

“We turn it into a fun event at our school, but the purpose is to help. Knowing people with cancer really touches a lot of teachers and students,” she said.

The Feb. 4-8 contest this year was a Harry Potter-themed penny wars, with students divided into four “houses” that were named in the book series. Students would donate pennies into a cauldron to help build up the amount their “house” would earn. However, students in other “houses” could bring silver coins or bills to put into competitors’ cauldrons and that would sabotage or deduct the amount.  

“We encouraged students to help in their community to help earn the money for the cauldrons. One teacher, Mr. (Jesse) Flink, offered to do chores from taking out trash to grading other teachers’ papers to help his house earn money.” 

Student council’s responsibilities covered decorating hallways and teacher doors to performing a skit at the kick-off assembly. They also gave daily announcements and helped young students donate their coins into the cauldrons. 

Likewise, East Midvale’s 14-member student council was involved in their annual fundraiser. After researching different agencies in the community and discussing it as a group, the students decided to help the Utah Humane Society, said fifth-grade teacher and student council adviser Raschell Davis.

“Most of the kids love animals and wanted to help them,” she said. “I advised; I let them do what they wanted to do and really, let them run it. They learned a lot. They came up with the idea, created posters, collected donations, counted money, gave speeches, promoted it on our school news, and got the whole school involved.”

Students brought in 250 items — cat and dog food, toys, blankets, cleaners, towels and other requested items.

“We even had a parent donate a large breed dog house,” Davis said. “We filled up the whole back of a truck with supplies.”

With donated Valentines, student council sold them to their peers for 25 cents and then, delivered them to friends and teachers throughout the school to make $116 earmarked for the humane society. 

In addition to that money, fourth-grade students from Andrew Farley’s class, who earned the incentive for a pizza party by bringing in the most donations, opted to give the money that would have been for pizza to the humane society.

“I was really happy that the students in Mr. Farley’s class didn’t expect anything in return for giving so many donations in the first place. It was a real learning moment for them,” she said. 

Indian Hills student council, which organized a 11,406-item October food drive, decided to repeat helping Make-A-Wish Foundation raise money for critically ill children, said student council adviser and seventh-grade history teacher Kamil Harrison.

“Last year we helped a four-year-old cutest little girl who loved knock-knock jokes,” Harrison said. “Participating in the fundraiser made our students realize the impact they could make with those who have cancer.”

This year, they raised enough funds to grant seven-year-old Benjamin’s wish of traveling to Harry Potter World as well as to help another child. The students had raised about $7,700.

“We had teachers get on board and be involved. For every $1,000, teachers would do something fun and crazy, but those incentives weren’t to take away from the donations,” she said.

For example, sixth-grade science teacher Shaun Evensen agreed to having his hair dyed blue and art teacher Breanna Holtry gave her students a drawing experience with a model, her Chihuahua mix. Other teachers shaved beards, dressed up in a kilt and a kimono, gave rap performances, swapped subjects to teach, got the class a pet fish and seventh-graders were treated to a magic show — along with their Make-A-Wish boy. 

“The fundraiser is for an amazing cause, but there are also real benefits to IHMS,” she said. “This fundraiser unites the school as everyone gives their time (and) money, and even some dignity to help a child get his wish.”