Community raises $90K for four families
Of course the crowd hooted, hollered and howled after Molalla High School leadership revealed a huge check in the amount of $90,412, raised for four families during the school's annual Share the Love campaign.
Others were nearly speechless.
"You can't see our reactions from this distance, but already we've been crying and our breaths are taken away, so honestly, no words can be spoken," said Ana Wakefield, one of this year's recipients. "Thank you so much."
The dollar amount, revealed at the Share the Love closing assembly Friday, Feb. 22, tops last year's by nearly $8,000.
This feat comes as the community has also pitched in for others outside of the four recipients, such as Coach Michael Campbell, who is fighting stage 4 lung cancer and who is ineligible for Share the Love as a district employee, and the Bentley family, whose feed store burned down earlier this month.
"This is a place I'm proud to call home because of people like you," said Jake Burroughs, recipient along with his wife Deanna and three children. "This is the most giving community I've ever seen in my life, and I've worked all over. Thank you."
The $90,000 came through business sponsorships, private donations, a slew of fundraisers and more. Some go to extreme measures to raise bucks for Share the Love, and the closing assembly followed that vibe.
During the assembly, teachers Grant Boustead, Erin Plaza, Ryan King and Hayley Zeal engaged in a face-painting contest; Vice Principal Sara Bean and Dean of Students Kerry Foley literally modeled school spirit, dressed in orange from head to toe; teacher Alissa Tran showed off her purple hair in honor of those with pancreatic cancer and cancer survivors; and Teacher Kurt Hagen, famous for his sexy legs, said goodbye to every strand of hair on his head and face—yep, even the eyebrows went.
Jeff Hillhouse, who failed to hold down his habanero pepper at last year's assembly, instead stuffed his face with cake alongside librarian Allison Byers this year.
But two brave volunteers still brought the heat. Coming off of his rap-battle win versus Share the Love founder Joe Zenisek, Principal Brad Berzinski took on Tim Baker for a ghost pepper eating challenge. Baker won, and as far as the Pioneer knows, both topped Hillhouse's performance last year by keeping peppers and bodily fluids inside their bodies.
The fun, games and heartfelt statements were all in celebration of coming together to share the love with the four families who needed it at this time. At the close of the assembly, student Maddy Lisac thanked the crowd for coming through in a big way.
"I would like to give one more huge thank you to all of you guys for all your help," Lisac said. "None of us could have done it alone. So thank you to everyone for your contributions and support, no matter how small and how large."
Check out more photos from the assembly below.