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How Highlands Ranch plans to care for Carson



The Highlands Ranch Falcon cheers on Wish Kid, Carson, as he enters the opening assembly. Photo by Noelle Harff

“This year is make or break,” said Scott Mortimer, senior student senator and Barrel Man. “It takes three years to make a tradition and it is our third year hosting Wish Week.” Student senate hopes to solidify Wish Week as a key part of HR culture.

    According to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a wish is granted every 34 minutes in the US. Make-A-Wish is a national foundation where schools sponsor children with a life threatening disease. Wish Week is seven days where a school raises money to help make a child’s wish come true.

   Schools raise money by hosting events that bring the community together. Dodgeball, school incentives, the Amazing Race, online auctions and miracle minutes at basketball games are just a few ways HR unites for the cause.

   Highlands Ranch’s wish kid this year is Carson, an 11-year-old boy. Brad Odice, student senate adviser, said, “Every year the foundation attempts to match the child’s personality to the personality of the school.” Carson’s wish is to go to the Bahamas with his family. Every day the school will be decked out in a specific beach theme for Carson, such as Tourist Day or a Jersey Out.

   “We started planning for Wish Week in November,” said Mortimer. According to Odice, planning started earlier this year than the last. Because planning for this week started months ago, the senate was able to stress the details. “We want to make sure that Wish Week is primarily for Carson, and that people understand that it isn’t about raising money, but changing a child’s life. We want to bring the community together in the spirit of kindness. We ultimately want to make this a memorable experience for Carson,” said Avery VanderVan, senior student senator.

   A new addition to Wish Week was the Beach Party Dance on Feb. 1 from 8:00-11:00 pm. All proceeds went to Carson’s wish. Student senate replaced the winter formal with the Wish Week dance. “The dance was new this year. We thought it may motivate more people to come because all of the money is going to Carson,” said Odice.

   The basketball games are a huge part of the week. Miracle minutes raise a lot of money for the foundation. “Our home games during Wish Week are always hype,” said Yafet Mesfin, senior and varsity basketball player. Miracle minutes are during half time or a time out, and the fans attempt to fill a bucket with as much money as they can in one minute. All of the money goes to Make-A-Wish foundation.

   “The students are much more passionate and invested in the game during Wish Week games compared to other basketball games. The student section looks unified and sounds excited,” said Audrey Peterson, senior cheerleader, with a smile. The upcoming Wish Week game against ThunderRidge is at home at 7:00 on Feb. 6.

   So far Highlands Ranch has raised $4,000 dollars from feeder schools alone. HR’s goal is to raise a total of $40,000 by the end of the seven days. The student incentive for reaching this goal is a day off of school. Other incentives for reaching goals are joke contests, a teacher rap battle, or Palmer Hoegh, math teacher, dying her hair blue. “The school comes together and rallies behind a good cause. That is how it’s all possible,” said Odice. Student senate is selling wish week T-shirts starting Jan. 30 at $10. 

   The halls will be decked out in blue to show how much Ranch #CaresforCarson Jan. 30- Feb 7th. During the opening and closing assembly, Carson will rally with the student body. During homeroom, Carson will walk into the lower gym filled with up to 2,000 student supporters all with one goal: making his wish come true.

Noelle Harff, Editor in Chief

The Highlands Ranch Falcons welcomes Carson and the student body in the beginning of wish week, repping his Care for Carson T-shirt. Photo by Noelle Harff 
Scott Mortimer collects money during the Miracle Minute in the opening assembly. The student body was able to raise $1,010 plus change in 60 seconds. This is the most HR has ever raised during a Miracle Minute. Photo by Noelle Harff 
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How Highlands Ranch plans to care for Carson