High School Students Across Douglas County Pay it Forward During Wish Week
High school students across Douglas County, and many students in respective feeder schools, are once again learning that a little kindness can go a long way. Again this year, our high schools hosted Wish Weeks to make dreams come true for Make-A-Wish Foundation beneficiaries.
During Wish Weeks, high schools select a child that is battling an illness -- funds raised help grant their wish via the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, it is estimated that DCSD students collectively raised over $500,000 during their Wish Weeks. In addition, Castle View High School hosted “Make a Difference (MAD) Week,” where additional money was raised to support two amazing charitable organizations.
The efforts of our district’s high school students are moving and demonstrate what amazing students and families that we have here in Douglas County. Many middle and elementary schools also participated with their own fundraisers, contributing to the success of each Wish Week event.
Meet some of this year’s Douglas County School District Wish Week recipients.
Chaparral High School, Parker - $89,631 Raised for Jakob
Chaparral High School students welcomed energetic, fun-loving Jakob into their “Chap Family.” Jakob lives in Parker and loves all things sports -- especially soccer and hockey. Jakob is an all-around normal 13-year old, except that he is fighting Cystic Fibrosis. He underwent five surgeries in his first year of life, and spends about an hour each day receiving medications to stay healthy. Jakob’s “wish” is to meet WWE Superstar John Cena, because, to Jakob, he symbolizes never giving up. Jakob’s wish will soon be granted thanks to the efforts of the generosity and hard work of Chaparral High School students.
Douglas County High School, Castle Rock - $47,000 Raised for Caleb
Five-year old Caleb, who is battling Leukemia, wished to be a superhero for a day. Douglas County High School (DCHS) students and feeder schools made that dream a reality. In January, during their Wish Week Assembly, DCHS students and the Castle Rock Police Department gave Caleb a heroes welcome, provided villians for him to catch, and then named him an honorary Castle Rock Police Officer. When asked why he likes superheroes, Caleb responded “because they save the day.” Caleb’s dream to go on a Marvel Superheroes Cruise with his family will also come true thanks to the more than $47,000 raised by students of Douglas County High School and its surrounding feeder schools.
Highlands Ranch High School: $27,000 Raised for Luke
Five-year-old Luke, who is battling Leukemia, has a wish to go on a Disney Cruise with his family. Thanks to week-long efforts by Highlands Ranch High School students, Luke’s wish will be granted. During Wish Week, students thought outside of the box and created fundraising events such as the Amazing Week and a dress up week with daily themes created based on Luke’s favorite things (such as the color green).
Students set a fundraising goal of $5,000. But at the end of Wish Week, they raised over five times that amount! The additional money was used to grant the wishes of two more children.
Legend High School: $80,000
Since 2015, 17-year-old Becca has endured 16 major surgeries, seen over 68 specialists, spent 110 days in the hospital and was on crutches for 550 days. Now, this Legend High School senior has one wish -- to go to Shangdu, China to explore the culture and hold a panda bear.
Becca has a very rare neuro gastro vascular disease which affects her stomach, intestines, nerves and blood vessels -- resulting in her being unable to digest food properly. She is being treated at The Children’s Hospital in Denver and The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
For Becca, her wish gives her something to look forward to and keeps her spirits up during rough times. Her Legend High School family did not disappoint -- raising over $80,000 to make Becca’s dream come true.
Mountain Vista High School, Highlands Ranch - $158,024 Raised for Gabby
Eight-year-old Gabby, who is battling Leukemia, wished to be famous -- so students at Mountain Vista High School gave her the celebrity treatment at their Wish Week final assembly. Gabby’s reason for wanting to be famous? To help others and create a platform for childhood cancer.
But Mountain Vista students didn’t stop there. They created a goal of granting 13 wishes, one per month -- in addition to Gabby. And they did just that. According to Make-A-Wish Colorado, In raising over $158,000, the school broke a national fundraising record this year.
Ponderosa High School, Parker - $41,496 Raised for Gavin
Eleven-year-old Gavin is battling Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He likes playing video games, traveling, the Denver Broncos, and spending time with his family. Gavin’s dream of going to Disney World with his family will soon be coming true thanks to the fundraIsing efforts of Ponderosa High School students during their Wish Week.
Rock Canyon High School, Highlands Ranch - $64,305 Raised for Violet
Seven-year-old Violet and her twin sister Lilly were born a few weeks premature as many twins are. All was great until they were both diagnosed with Epilepsy at 18-months-old. They have a rare genetic disorder --- so rare that they are the only two people in the world who have this disorder. Their parents describe them as tenacious -- they share an incredible bond with each other and even finish each other’s sentences. Lilly’s wish to go to Disney World with her family was previously granted. Thanks to students at Rock Canyon High School -- now it’s Violet’s turn. A total of eight wishes, including Violet’s wish to swim with the dolphins (her favorite animals in the whole world), were granted due to Rock Canyon High School student fundraising efforts. And…thanks to a Rock Canyon alum, Violet and Lilly got a video shout out from Imagine Dragons during the Wish Week closing assembly.
ThunderRidge High School, Highlands Ranch - Quade’s Wish Granted
Quade is a 10-year-old boy whose battle with Leukemia caused him to spend 168 days in the hospital. ThunderRidge High School students raised enough money to send Quade and his family on a 10-day vacation to New Zealand. At ThunderRidge’s Wish Week assembly, Quade was surprised with special guests from the Denver Outtlaws, the Colorado Mammoth Dance Team as well as former NBA player Jason Richardson. Richardson presented Quade with a message from Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry. Curry, the two-time NBA MVP also sent Quade a signed jersey.
Castle View HS - MAD Week (Make a Difference Week)
MAD Week is short for Make A Difference Week at Castle View High School. This year, Castle View students raised money for IFOPA, the International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association which raises funds to help individuals with this rare disease. Over 1000 individuals are supported and brought together by IFOPA. They also raised funds for the Kendall and Taylor Atkinson foundation which helps individuals with Fanconi Anemia (FA). The majority of funds raised go towards research to find effective treatments and cures for individuals with FA.