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Draper Journal

Corner Canyon students raise $60,000 so children’s wishes can be granted

Feb 01, 2021 11:49AM ● By Julie Slama

Corner Canyon High School students announce the amount they had raised at their December assembly, but since then, it topped more than $60,000 to help children with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Emma Searle/Corner Canyon High)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

It hasn’t just been three cute kiddos battling different kinds of cancer that motivated Corner Canyon High School’s studentbody to raise more than $60,000 to grant their wishes. It has hit close to home.

Last year’s studentbody president Tyler Easton led the school into fundraising for Make-A-Wish Utah, a year after he was granted his own wish—to travel to South Africa. Easton battled with pheochromocytoma—a rare tumor that raises blood pressure—since he was a fifth-grader and traveled across the country for medical treatment.

Knowing other Chargers, including Jacie Remund, who have fought cancer and have been supported by Make-A-Wish, Easton said two years ago that educating others about cancer is part of coping with it.

“If you look at Jacie and me, you don’t know that we have cancer and that we’re dealing with it,” he said. “We want people to know. I hear how some people say what they’re going through is so hard. I don’t make a judgment. For them, it probably is, and I try to support them. For me, cancer sucks and it’s hard as well. I just try to keep a positive attitude.”

This year’s studentbody officers decided in the summer to keep educating its community and supporting others to have their wish granted, said studentbody officer Megan Petty.

“It has a lot of meaning for us,” she said. “Everyone knows Ty and we want to help others who are facing cancer.”

While last year Corner Canyon raised more than $100,000 for the organization through various in-person activities, this year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was more challenging, Petty said.

“We had to rethink and modify what we wanted to do and get everything approved,” she said. “We did the best we could do during the pandemic.”

This meant not visiting Make-A-Wish foundation in person, not personally meeting the kids they were raising funds for, not performing odd jobs for the community in trade for donations to their campaign and not holding some usual events, said studentbody officer Emma Searle.

“We ended up distributing fliers and asking people to just Venmo a donation and that worked,” she said.

With permission, they were able to hold some in-school fundraising activities, such as a ping pong and swamp ball (a variation of prison dodge ball) tournaments, a Mario Kart and rock paper scissors competitions, and even playing corn hole—throwing bean bags into holes on a wooden plank.  

Student leaders got the community involved, with six local restaurants donating a portion of proceeds to the fundraiser. They challenged Alta High one night at a restaurant night to see which school could bring in the most customers, and against the collaboration of Hillcrest, Jordan and Brighton high schools who were raising funds for the International Rescue Committee on another night.

“It was fun to do it as a competition between schools, but kind of funny when we challenged Alta since we’re both doing it for the same charity—Make-A-Wish,” Perry said. 

Corner Canyon also held a silent auction, which netted some donations, such as orthodontic braces, ski passes, an autographed football, and locals bid on them. They also could purchase a cookbook from the theatre department, stickers from the graphic design department, cookies from the foods department or hot chocolate when they came to the school to listen to the choir during a “Cocoa and Carols” night.

Before students went on winter break, their campaign ended.

“We asked and got special permission to hold an in-person closing assembly and although it was restricted to 25% of our studentbody, students donated $10 each to attend, and that helped raise money. The rest of the students were able to see it livestreamed in class. At the assembly, the students beat the teachers at swamp ball, fair and square and we all celebrated,” Searle said.

Although their total was less than last year’s fundraising efforts, it was considered extremely generous of the community during this pandemic year, said Jared Perry, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Utah.

“During these unprecedented times, hope is essential to our community,” Perry said. “Wishes bring hope to families when they need it most and the power of a wish extends beyond only the families we serve; it impacts our volunteers, donors, and our entire community. We are deeply grateful for the students, faculty and individuals at Corner Canyon High School for helping us bring hope to so many with their generosity and determination to give.”

On the Make-A-Wish Utah Facebook page, it acknowledged the students’ hard work: “The student government fought hard to make this donation possible—even though sports and dances were canceled, they worked alongside their administration to create virtual assemblies, livestreams, and partnerships with local businesses to generate funds for multiple life-changing wishes for Utah families!”

SBO Petty agreed: “Even though this year was different with coronavirus, everyone gave it their all and put everything into it to help our kids get their wishes granted.”

Although the month-long campaign filled the student leaders’ days—often from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Petty and Searle both said students were motivated to grant the wishes of three children living in the Draper community: 4-year-old Vi who had a brain tumor the size of a baseball; 4-year-old Taggart, who underwent a heart transplant; and 3-year-old Brooklyn, who had a tumor removed on her lung. 

Vi wants a princess playhouse; Taggart wants to have a treehouse and Brooklyn wants a hot tub after using one at Bear Lake.

“We hope that we can be there when they get their wishes,” Searle said. “Last year, the kids we helped wrote thank-you notes and sent videos of them ringing the bell when they were cancer-free. We definitely want to stay in touch and see our kids with their wishes, even if it’s virtual this year.”