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Sandy Journal

Alta Idol, Dancing with the Hawks, spirit nights bring in contributions for school fundraiser

Mar 08, 2023 04:47PM ● By Julie Slama

Alta High sophomore Miranda Stokes receives a hug after being named Alta Idol, an event which helped raise funds for Alta’s winter fundraiser, Make-A-Wish. (Photo courtesy of Alta High)

When Alta sophomore Miranda Stokes stepped onto her high school stage to sing “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog,” she was—almost there.

Moments later, the then 15-year-old won the title of Alta Idol, a tradition that has been going for longer than she’s been alive.

After receiving a microphone trophy and hugs from other contestants, she exited the stage with a little kick in her step and a wave good-bye to the audience.

While there is no cash award, the money raised from ticket sales is earmarked to support Alta High’s annual winter fundraiser, Make-A-Wish.

Stokes, who is a member of the school’s choir and was in the school musical, was glad she could support it while performing.

“I’m really grateful that I was able to be a part of this, to be able to raise money for Make-A-Wish,” she said. “I’ve made lots of friends and had fun by doing this cool thing to help others.”

Those who wanted to perform in Alta Idol first had to audition and be selected by a Jordan High student panel. Once the contestants were narrowed down, they each performed a preliminary number on stage. The two judges selected three finalists to sing a second number.

Stokes, who recently began voice lessons, first sang “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from “Grease” in a lower key.

“I sing karaoke around my house and I always pick that song. I was a little bit nervous before the competition started and then again, when I got on stage. When I started singing, I wasn’t scared at all. I was just in my element. I was thinking about my song and portraying the emotions of it. I didn’t even think about the audience or anything else at that point,” she said.

Stokes picked an upbeat song to perform in the finals.

“I just kind of put a little bit of my personality into it and danced a little on stage. I really love that musical and it was super fun. I had practiced it, but I hadn’t been able to hit that last super high note. I decided that I was just going to go for it, and I ended up hitting it,” she said. “It was awesome.”

Evidently, judges Indian Hills music teacher Wade Abbott and Kramer Orton, an alumnus who helped with the 2013 Alta Idol, agreed.

This is Alta Idol’s 18th year.

Alta student body officers’ adviser Shaley Louder said that 2014 student body officer Allie Hunt wanted to begin the tradition at the school, patterning their contest after “American Idol,” the popular television singing competition show which debuted in 2002.   

 Senior class president Leroy Barlow was an emcee for the event that brought in nearly $1,000 for the fundraiser.

“I was introducing the next contestants, holding the mic for the students when the judges would talk to them, and told the audience what the judges would be doing during intermission,” he said. “I loved just seeing people show up and support their friends.”

Barlow became a student leader to get involved in school activities.

“I love going to all the school events and just being able to support those,” he said. “This fundraiser has been super fun.”

SBO financial chair Paige Haddock said that it’s the 10th annual year Alta Hawks have supported Make-A-Wish.

“We’re one of the longest standing high schools to support that organization,” she said. “I love our partnership with an organization that supports children. The kids are excited and bring all the joy so it’s just nice to be involved with the school that grants their wishes. It just gives them something to look forward to.”

Louder said because Alta has worked with the same foundation year after year, families have reached out for sponsorship.  

“These are families that live in our community and have seen the positive impact we have on supporting the Make-A -Wish Foundation,” she said.

This year, Alta supported a local girl, 8-year-old Ellie who has leukemia and wanted to go to Disney World.  Previously, the Hawks supported her twin sister, Kate, who also wanted to go there, but because of COVID-19, her wish turned into a backyard makeover complete with a scooter path.

“We were able to help the whole family go. They went to Disney World for three days and they went to Universal (Studios) for two days and said they just had the most amazing time,” Haddock said.

In addition to Alta Idol, student leaders helped raise money through Dancing with the Hawks, a choir concert, restaurant spirit nights, Classic Fun spirit night and donations, such as $2,500 from Scheels, as well as at school assemblies and contests such as Spikeball and Super Smash Bros.

“We had a good amount of people at our spirit nights and with Dancing with the Hawks and at the choir concert. Lots of people donated at the assembly, which was super awesome,” she said.

Alta raised more than $19,000 for Make-A-Wish. Haddock said that they were told a typical wish cost $5,000, so they were told the additional funds would be shared with other families.

“It’s rewarding to know we helped Ellie and her family and it’s nice to know that we’re helping more than one family,” she said. “It’s great seeing the school get involved and all caring about this one cause and seeing that through all of our efforts, how their wish was granted.”