Skip to main content

Murray Journal

Murray High students give 5 for the Fight thousands to help with cancer research

Mar 08, 2023 01:42PM ● By Julie Slama

Murray High students raised funds to help for 5 for the Fight cancer research. (Jessica Garrett/Murray High)

When Murray High student leaders were deciding upon a nonprofit organization to raise money for as part of their traditional winter fundraiser, they wanted it to be a local foundation that was making a positive impact for a lot of people in the community.

“5 for the Fight provides funding for cancer research and is something everyone can support because we found it impacts everyone at school, someone they may know, a family member, a friend,” said student body officers’ adviser Jessica Garrett. “It is supported by the Utah Jazz so it’s another way our community can connect.”

5 for the Fight, a Qualtrics-led nonprofit, is a global campaign that got its namesake by inviting everyone to donate $5 to the fight against cancer.

Garrett said through Principal Quinn Linde’s connections and his passion for helping the nonprofit, student leaders were able to meet with Qualtrics officials, tour the facility and get a personalized video.

With the dual goal of raising money for cancer research and to getting community involvement, as well as support from the Qualtrics and the Utah Jazz, student leaders led the month-long fundraising campaign.

It was kicked off with a week-long spirit bowl competition.

“People could donate, and the team could get spirit bowl points if they had the highest donation that went to the charity,” Garrett said.

It also involved various contests between student grades. Tug-of-war was a favorite, with the senior class defeating others to advance to challenge faculty.

“We have just a lot of strong faculty members who were able to hold them in that moment. It was a proud moment for our teachers,” she said.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, upward of 100 runners donned their sneakers and donated $15 to participate in a 5K at Murray Park. It also included a kids run.

“We had a ton of Murray families and faculty who ran with their own kids. The girls’ basketball team, instead of doing their practice at the school, came and ran the 5K,” she said.

Student leaders planned an Arts Night where visual art students and teachers donated items, such as paintings, pottery and photography, to sell. Murray High’s jazz band and improv team performed.

“People paid a $10 entrance fee, and then they could also purchase art and refreshments and enjoy several forms of art that night,” Garrett said.

Another opportunity to enjoy the arts and support 5 for the Fight was by paying the entrance fee to see Murray Idol, where contestants performed in front of the audience and three judges.  

The judges picked winners for each category—Liam Garrett and Hayden Linde for elementary school winners; Jasmine Vera as the secondary school winner and Murray High art teacher Ryan Moffett as the adult winner.

The audience had a say as well. 

“They could put money in a folder for the contestant they wanted to win the people’s choice,” she said.

Student leaders also planned and held a winter dance, Snow Ball, with the $5 ticket funds earmarked for 5 for the Fight.

“The kids created all the decorations and a backdrop for photos. They had a playlist, so they didn't have to pay for a deejay. They asked parents to volunteer so it didn’t cost anything, and all the money raised went to the fundraiser. There were 200 or 300 students there who had a lot of fun; a lot of them wore holiday pajamas,” Garrett said. “The thing that makes me the proudest of our winter charity was the intense student involvement. People attended and paid to come to events, but there were different clubs that were outside of student government that hosted their own stuff. For example, our Black Student Union hosted a movie night. One evening, our FCCLA, DECA FBLA—our business clubs, hosted a silent auction before one of the basketball games. We had our Dance Company take donations to ‘pink flamingo’ a teacher’s classroom; they decorated it all pink with flamingos.”

Students also paid a $15 donation to have student “elves” carry their bags and books between classes to support the fundraiser.

Local businesses supported the students’ efforts with spirit nights where a portion of proceeds were earmarked for the winter charity. There also was an opportunity to buy raffle tickets and at a basketball game, 10 tickets were pulled for those people to have a chance to make a half-court shot to win free Chick-Fil-A for six months.

There were competitions between classes. For some classes, students got imaginative in ways to earn contributions. While one class sold sodas, brownies and granola bars between classes to raise money, another got students to pay to put an administrator in an empty display case for one minute. 

“The class organized that and orchestrated it, so people got creative. I’ve been a part of a number of winter charities and fundraisers with Murray High, and this is the first time that I’ve seen it,” she said.

In late March, student body and class officers will present their fundraising check of $16,273.02 to 5 for the Fight on the floor of a Utah Jazz game.

“Our goal for student government’s fundraiser is to help the student body come together whether it’s to provide services or money to those in need,” Garrett said. “This is a service opportunity for school that helps our students see outside of themselves and give of themselves, whether it’s time, ideas, money or whatever they can, and also, it’s a way to unify our students, to bring our school together.”

Through the years, Murray High has collected coats for families, supported a Make-A-Wish Foundation child’s wish and held a letter-writing campaign to Santa where Macy’s would donate $1 per letter to the Foundation, collected walking sticks and canes to donate, and other ways to serve the community.

“Sometimes it’s been money. Sometimes it’s been items,” she said. “The highlight is watching our student body officers create something new for the school and for the community and to involve students. With our Arts Night and Murray Idol, they were creating new galas that are starting traditions. These students are doing it themselves and wanting to get everyone involved to give back to our community. That ultimately is the best part.”