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Murray Journal

Cottonwood High to host tree festival to help raise funds for Make-a-Wish child

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Julie Slama

Cottonwood High School students have goal to bring in $5,000 this holiday season to support a child in the Make-a-Wish Foundation through a tree festival and other activities. (Cottonwood High)

Last year, Cottonwood High students, staff, faculty and the community, raised $6,000 — $1,000 more than their goal — to send Marcus, who lives in Salt Lake City, and his family on a cruise through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

This year, student government leaders again are hoping to help another child receive their wish. New this year will be the introduction of Cottonwood High Tree Festival to help raise funds.

“We’re inviting students, clubs, sports teams and anyone in the Cottonwood community to come donate a tree — big or small — for a silent auction that we will hold during a boys’ basketball game,” said Amy Thomas, Cottonwood High student government adviser. “We’re hoping for at least 10 trees to help raise funds for our Make-a-Wish child.”

Thomas said that already several clubs and teams have shown interest in decorating a tree to auction as had the counseling office. Decorations could match the club, such as recycling materials from the Student Conservation Alliance or baseball decorations from the baseball team, but they aren’t required to do so.

“It’s a fun way to get everyone involved in the effort,” she said about the idea she borrowed from a school in Utah County.

From the silent auction on Dec. 5 alone, Thomas hopes students will raise $1,500.

Other ways students have identified to fundraise include a talent show, a date night auction and a first class period competition where students try to raise the most for the child. She said students also will walk around at lunch or in the parking lots and ask for donations. Donations also come in at the holiday school concerts.

“It’s amazing how just some spare change starts to add up,” she said.

Through the effort, Thomas said students are learning responsibility as well as leadership, organizational and budget skills.

“They’re learning how to advertise and talk to people about why they should donate and how they can raise more money,” she said. “They also see the joy of service and how everyone can do a little, whether it’s giving of their time or their money, and can make a huge difference.”

Thomas said the student leaders selected Make-a-Wish Foundation since they realized their money goes directly to a person in the Salt Lake area.

“They get to know the person and are making a direct, life-changing impact. They themselves develop a sense of pride and realize that this is a lot bigger than themselves,” she said.

The child has yet to be assigned to Cottonwood High, but Thomas said that most of the students have serious or terminal illnesses or have “horrific treatments they’re going through and need a boost.”

Marcus had brain tumors, but was willing to come with his family to Cottonwood High during an assembly and explain his treatments. During that same assembly, the students gave Marcus a stick horse, representing their school mascot, the Colts. Marcus trotted around the stage on his horse and has been asking about his Colt friends and stayed in touch with several of them, Thomas said.

“It means so much to these high school students when it’s personable and relatable,” she said.