Groves hosts charity week to benefit Make-A-Wish Michigan

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 21, 2017

 History and social studies teacher Jim Sherman gets his head shaved by one of the student organizers, Cappy Pierce.

History and social studies teacher Jim Sherman gets his head shaved by one of the student organizers, Cappy Pierce.

Photo by Deb Jacques

BEVERLY HILLS — Groves High School students spent Feb. 10-16 coming up with as many zany ways to raise money as they could for Wish Week.

Wish Week consisted of a week of competitions, fundraising activities and programs designed to raise money for Make-A-Wish Michigan. This culminated with a rally Feb. 16 at which the total amount raised was revealed.

“This is the first year Groves has done this with us,” said Jennifer Cleary, development coordinator for Make-A-Wish Michigan. “The idea of working together was suggested by a student here. Events like this help us grant wishes to a lot of kids waiting here in Michigan.”

Events during the week included the Beauty Man-geant —  a beauty pageant for the school’s male students — plus volleyball competitions and a dance-off competition at the rally.

The total amount raised was $31,429.44, which Cleary said is a record for donations to her organization from a school. She said the money will go toward a truly noble cause that could even help save a child’s life.

“Many people think it’s only kids with terminal cases that we help, but it’s really children with life-threatening diseases. That’s significant, because giving a child something to look forward to while they are in treatment or recovery can give them the extra push they need to pull through. I had a brother whose wish was granted, so I know what kind of difference it can make,” said Cleary. “We helped 443 kids last year, and we are hoping to break that this year. Also, all the money goes to Michigan kids, so it stays local.”

Several incentives were set at the beginning of the week to encourage kids to donate and collect money. Three teachers stepped up to take a pie in the face at the rally if students raised more than $12,000. Other incentives included several teachers joining in the student dance-off, which took place at the rally, if students raised more than $15,000; two teachers being slimed if students raised more than $20,000; Groves Principal Cathy Hurley taking a pie in the face from Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Nerad if students raised more than $25,000; and Hurley returning the favor to Nerad if students raised more than $30,000.

“It’s been amazing,” remarked Hurley. “We have Spirit Week every year, but that’s the kids being divided, while this is something that brings them together. The kids really did a great job and went above and beyond. We really need to thank the parents and businesses from the area that donated so generously, as well.”

Despite disliking the pastry, Hurley was good-natured about taking a pie to the face, knowing it all was for a good cause.

“I never liked pie to begin with, and I’ll never eat it again after this,” she laughed. “It was a real pleasure to get to pie Dr. Nerad, though.”

Many of the students worked diligently to make the week a success, and they were pleased with the results.

“My favorite part was the ‘coin stalls,’ which was part of the week I helped plan,” said junior Emma Hourdakis, one of the Wish Week organizers. “Teachers had to count all the coins that were donated this week before class started, so the more that was donated, the longer it would take. It was an idea we had heard of other schools doing, but we all thought it would work really well here.”

“I think we totally exceeded our expectations,” added junior and fellow organizer Olivia Siklich. “Our student government and community can be very proud. This was just a phenomenal week.”

The organizers agreed that Make-A-Wish Michigan was a great choice to work with, and they believe a lot of good can come from their Wish Week work.

“We talked about a lot of charities, but as a group we settled on Make-A-Wish because it was such a worthwhile cause that everyone could get behind,” said organizer Claire Higley, a sophomore. “We want to thank everyone who helped make that happen.”