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Once a year, students in Douglas County spend a week raising money for kids with life-threatening medical conditions. The school district never disappoints — this year it has raised $309,360 and is expected to reach a total of about $500,000.
“We expect to receive $1 million in funding from student supporters throughout the state this year,” said Lauren Beede, director of community development for Make-A-Wish Colorado, the organization that collects the money. “So realistically, Douglas County Schools could make up half of overall student fundraising. The support that we have had from Douglas County schools is overwhelming.”
The funds are used to grant the wishes of kids who are fighting for their health. At the end of each Make-A-Wish week, high schools host an elaborate assembly to celebrate their “wish kid” and the success of the week. Restaurants and community events contribute to the fundraising.
In total, Douglas County will have raised enough money to grant 66 wishes, according to Beede.
Below is a look at how district schools have done so far.
Mountain Vista High School: $158,024
The high school in Highlands Ranch set a national record this year, according to Beede. Students granted the wish of 8-year-old Gabby, who is battling leukemia. Her wish is to be famous. At the final assembly, students treated Gabby like a celebrity.
“We are proud of the way the entire Mountain Vista community came together to support Wish Kid Gabby,” said student Carter Cingrani. “The final assembly was a concert that celebrated Gabby as a new member of the Mountain Vista family.”
Legend High School: $80,000
Students granted the wish of Legend student Becca Tuska, who has a vascular disease. Her wish is to go to China and hold a panda bear. At the assembly, the school's Chinese exchange students spoke to Tuska in Chinese, foreshadowing her upcoming trip to the country.
“This week was filled with lots of energy and love for Becca and all Titans,” said principal Jason Jacob. “It was great week.”
Douglas County High School: $47,000
Students granted the wish of Caleb Amaral, a 5-year-old battling a type of blood cancer. Amaral's wish is to go on a Disney Marvel cruise. At the assembly, dressed in a Spiderman costume, Amaral helped his fellow superheroes save the school from villains.
“I thought it was the best assembly we've ever had,” senior Tiana Tinari said at the assembly.
Highlands Ranch High School: $24,370
School officials were not available for comment.
Schools that have yet to complete wish weeks include Castle View, Challenge to Excellence, Chaparral, Ponderosa, Rock Canyon, Rocky Heights Middle School and STEM School Highlands Ranch. ThunderRidge High School does not disclose its amount.
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