The month of March offered up major donations within the Whitko Community amidst three highly successful fundraising campaigns. The school-wide mattress fundraiser, the annual Jarrod Day auction and celebration and an FCCLA Fundraiser and Scholarship. Altogether, $13,965.89 was raised inside of the month of March with over fifty percent of the proceeds benefitting a Whitko family in need and non profit organizations!
Mattress Fundraiser Declared Huge Success!
The school had been advertising a mattress fundraising event for a full month prior to March 23rd. Then the Whitko Jr/Sr High School commons area was transformed into a showroom of sorts with over 30 beds on display for purchase according to the schools WJSHS Facebook page. Mattresses, bed frames, pillows, sheets and even massage chairs were available for purchase during the one day event. A one day event that netted $6,520 for the Whitko Community.
Athletic Director, Josh Mohr, noted that the event was successfully implemented in other community schools similar in size to Whitko, and the money will go to good use within multiple programs across the school. With 100% of the mattress sales being donated to the school, monies received will directly benefit athletic, drama, band, club, and various other programs within the school.
Coupling the Mattress Fundraiser event with the annual Jarrod Day Event, the Whitko Community rallied together and boosted their own programming, and at the same time, found a family within the community who could use a helping hand, the Schwartz Family.
A History on Jarrod Day
Jarrod Day began as a school and a community choosing to support a family that was steeped in medical bills. On October 6, 2009, Jarrod Lewis, a well-loved student and athlete at Whitko High School, was in a car accident that caused severe trauma to his body. After several years Jarrod lost his battle with the extensive injuries he suffered from the accident and past away, but the tradition of Jarrod Day continues in his name. Proceeds from the event continue to be given to families within the Whitko Community that have faced extreme medical and financial need.
"Jarrod Day is our way of honoring the wonderful people that make up our school and community," said NHS Sponsor, Teacher Brandy Smith.
Jarrod Day Celebrated Across the Week Before Spring Break
Dennis Schwartz was the 2019 Jarrod Day honoree. Schwartz is a local resident of both the Whitko Community and Amish Community. Schwartz fell from a height of 18 feet to land on top of concrete. After being hospitalized for an extended time, he is now back in his home and continuing intensive therapy roughly three times per week. Assisting in the physical therapy, specialists have enlisted the use of a robotic walker with the hope of helping Schwartz to be able to walk once again on his own.
Jarrod Day spanned across the entire week of March 25th through the 29th. Students and teachers wore shirts they had purchased from previous years to celebrate the week long event that would begin with the annual auction and culminate with a volleyball tournament where students competed against the staff in a braggers rights style tournament.
In order for the days to go off without a hitch, Principal John Snyder and National Honor Society Leaders, Brandy Smith and Molly Maish, coordinated an event that generated minimum interruption for the school day, while maximizing the time spent in the gymnasium hosting the event using a schedule similar to a school delay day.
The auction alone, raising $3,980.50, was held on Wednesday of that week. Student Resource Officer Tim Clark and Brandy Smith played the roles of hosts and auctioneers. Some of the largest purchases made by students and staff were crowd favorites: A 15 pound giant ice cream cookie purchased for $300 by Luke Chalk and Luke Collier, Whitley County raised farm fresh egg sandwiches ($345 purchased by the schools Welding Tech & Project Class), and butler services provided by Teacher Larry Schuh purchased by student Cory Palmer for $270. The average auction item sold for just under $90 and over $200 in student donations were collected after the event concluded from students who did not win in one of the many bidding wars.
Following the auction, on Friday the 29th, the volleyball match ups and wacky antics of the staff and students were in full swing. In addition to the tournament, SRO Tim Clark and Teacher John Strayer had agreed to receive a pie in the face courtesy of the highest bidders in the auction from earlier in the week. Abby Lancaster, Devin Blaine, and Dillon Hamilton threw the pies to cheers and applause by the students and staff.
In total, the Jarrod Day Event raised $6295.89 in 2019. According to Smith, "that's over $1000 more than ever before! I will be calling a representative today and letting them know that we will be donating $6000 to his [Schwartz'] fund at Crossroads Bank that the community set up to help with his medical bills."
FCCLA Donates to B.A.B.E., Humane Society of Whitley Co., & Jarrod Day
Finally, the Whitko FCCLA had set a $1000 fundraising goal in 2018-19. Whitko’s Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (F.C.C.L.A.) set a goal back in August to raise money to help one charity in the community and establish an F.C.C.L.A. scholarship. "They wanted to make a difference in the community," shared Amy Richards, who serves as a chapter sponsors. The members raised over $1000 by working in the school’s concession stand during athletic events, a bake sale at the Fall and Spring plays, the school's annual semi-formal dance, “Midnight Masquerade," and they also sold fresh baked cookies and beef sticks.
In the end, $1150 was raised, enough money to make a donation to three charities. The first donation was given to Jarrod Day. It was also decided by the students that they would like to support the lives of animals, and a donation of $200 was then given to the Humane Society of Whitley County. $200 also went to B.A.B.E. of Whitley County. BABE of Whitley County provides incentives for pregnant women and families to consistently participate in partner programs and services that benefit the health and well being of infants and young children. And a $500 scholarship was set up to be given to a senior student that is active in Whitko’s FCCLA and FACS classes. Once again, the Whitko's students chose a selfless path by donating more money to help someone else ($650), rather than spending money to help themselves ($500).