Wayne High School Gives to Local Wish Kids

Wayne High School Gives to Local Wish Kids

By Susan Gnann

The Junior Cabinet at Wayne High School in Huber Heights has a lot on their plate. Besides keeping up with the rigor of high school, these students plan Junior/Senior prom each spring and organize a fundraiser and pep assembly for the Dayton Chapter of A Special Wish Foundation (ASW). Together they work to raise money and awareness of ASW with some good-natured competition between students and faculty with a highly anticipated volleyball game. Student vie for a spot on the team with their fundraising efforts and battle it out with faculty and during this annual event.

The Junior Cabinet is open to the entire junior class, and about 30-40 students join each year. They begin working on this fundraiser early in the year with a real push in November since the pep assembly is held on the last school day before Thanksgiving break. The day of the event is full of excitement, is quite loud and students and faculty play like that are competing for a gold medal. They leave school that day happy and hopeful that they had an impact on a child’s life, a perfect segue into the Thanksgiving holiday.

“I believe it gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment when we give the Special Wish recipient their gifts,” said Kiersten Hogan, president of this year’s Junior Cabinet. “The volleyball game itself is an added bonus to engage the entire school.”

Each year, the Junior Cabinet at Wayne High School is supported by members of the faculty and staff. For the past couple of years it has been DeeDee Nickell, a business teacher and Robyn Carter who works in the school clinic.

“The kids really do it all,” remarked Robyn. “But DeeDee and I just have a ball and advising this group has really brought us closer as friends. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

The idea for this fundraiser started back in 1994 by Dana Pack, a teacher at Wayne High School. She had nominated one of her own students for a wish from ASW. From that point it was decided that they sponsor a wish every year. Since that time, over $28K has been raised to support ASW and a specific child.

This year’s Wish Child was Jerome Wyatt, a 3-year-old boy from Springfield whose wish was to go to Walt Disney World. Born 2 months before his due date, Jerome had many complications and at only three months old, he had a tracheostomy. Even with the struggles, this boy is not slowed down and his mother calls him a “wild child”.

“He had a great time at the game,” remembered his mother Ashely McElroy. “He kept running out onto the court to be with the kids.”

The members of the cabinet got word that Jerome was a huge fan of SpongeBob SquarePants. Their gifts presented on the day of the pep assembly reflected this, including the fleece blanket the students made for him.

The family recently went on their wish trip to Walt Disney World where Jerome got to meet Mickey Mouse, who has now bested Spongebob Squarepants as Jerome’s new favorite.

“Mickey has a new fan,” said Ashley. “It was such a good experience for all of us!”

Last year the Junior Cabinet raised money for Matthew Helton’s wish for a hot tub. It was a particularly moving experience for everyone involved as Matthew was an incoming freshman at the time. His presence in the school now is a wonderful reminder to the kids of their impact.

“We’re not just blessing these children, they are blessing us. And, the students get to see the fruits of their efforts from beginning to end,” said Robyn.

Go online to www.aspecialwishdayton.org for information about how your school or business can get involved.