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Millcreek Journal

Wasatch Jr. High students reach new heights in fundraising for Souper Bowl of Caring

Mar 01, 2024 01:09PM ● By Jolene Croasmun

Students and administrators of Wasatch Jr. High that were willing to have water dumped on their heads for a good cause in February to raise money for the Granite Education Foundation’s Souper Bowl of Caring. (Mary Basso/Wasatch Jr. High)

Principal Mary Basso of Wasatch Jr. High, along with the Assistant Principal Renee Dehaan, pledged to sleep on the roof of the school if the student body raised $18,000 during the Granite Education Foundation’s Souper Bowl of Caring fundraiser.

Last year, the school only raised $1,900. This year, Wasatch decided to go the extra mile and pull out all the stops with lots of unusual incentives like head shaving, pie throwing, face painting, and buckets of water dumped on students’ heads and, of course, the administrators sleeping on top of the roof.

The school reached that goal in no time, and Basso and Dehaan camped out on the roof on Feb. 6.

“It was a cold, wet and windy night but it was great. We had umbrellas, we took our tents and we took our Uno cards and we did not get too much sleep,” Basso said.

“We told the kids we would be on the roof and they could drive by and honk and we would wave. We threw some glow sticks down to these kids that came by and chatted with us. It was really fun,” Basso said.

“This was the administration’s idea to sleep on the roof of the school,” Basso said. “No one thought that the students would raise this much money.” 

“Several kids even asked us, ‘Did you guys really sleep there all night because several of us think you went back inside and slept in your offices.’ Nope, your word has to mean something. We spent the entire night on the roof,” Basso said.

The kids came to school the next morning and were greeted by the principal and assistant principal still on the roof.  

When asked about the condition of the school’s roof Basso said, “The top of the roof was really clean and we found soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs and even a pair of shoes.”

Several teachers offered to have their heads shaved if the students raised a specific amount of money. The teachers did not think they had any real worries about losing their hair. It was  $7,500 for Ms. Gleason, $12,500 for Mr. Yund, $15,000 for Mr. McGowan and $20,000 for Mr. Allen.

“At the beginning of the fundraiser, the teachers were taunting the students saying, ‘We are going to have our hair for the rest of the year!’ Then boom, the students raised $35,000,” Basso said. 

Teachers and staff got in on the fun by being placed in holding cells until a set amount of money was raised to free them.

There was a friendly competition between Wasatch Jr. High School and Churchill Jr. High to see which school could raise the most money for the fundraiser.

It was a tight race but Wasatch Jr. High pulled out a win. Charity Flanagan, the school’s bookkeeper confirmed the totals. “Wasatch raised a total of $47,053.38 and Churchill came in at $45,007.67.” Altogether the two schools raised over $90,000.

It was a win for everyone with this friendly competition since all of the money raised was helping stomp out hunger in the Granite School District.

Flanagan added, “It was really awesome to see the kids connect with our community and raise money in this way to help other kids with food insecurity.”

“There was a break-in at Granite Education Foundation over this past Christmas break and they lost like $50,000 so it was really awesome to see the kids come together and make up for that loss plus some,” Flanagan said.

“We did a closing assembly at the end of the week and we showed the students just how much they had brought in and congratulated them. Then we had a lineup of teachers who got their heads shaved,” Flanagan said.

“There were different activities where kids could pay to dump water on teachers, admins and even throw a pie in the face. Just fun ways to get the kids and teachers involved to raise money for a good cause,” Flanagan said.

The goal was set to raise $20,024 which is about $25 per student plus $24 for the year. The fundraising began on Jan. 29 and ended on Feb. 9.

“I am so proud and so humbled to be in a community that cares so much about kids that are tackling hunger and never would have imagined that the community would raise this much money,” Basso said. “I don’t know how we are going to top it next year.”  λ