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The Molalla community far exceeds student leaders' fundraising goal for Blatter, Campbell and Us-Zapata families

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Student leaders react to the dollar amount on the big check at the Share the Love closing assembly on Friday, Feb. 21.

Gasps and shock filled the auditorium at the Share the Love 2020 final assembly when a big check indicated Molalla students and their community raised $147,695.45 for three families in dire need.

People were shocked and amazed that the students, who had set a goal of $55,000, had achieved nearly three times that amount. Natalee Litchfield, president of the Associated Student Body president was "speechless" when the check was revealed. She said she wasn't aware that "a lot comes in at the end."

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - In the front from left to right are Share the Love Coordinator Clay Sperl, the Campbell family, the Us-Zapata family, the Blatter family and Share the Love co-coordinator Cori Oster. Behind them are family members, student leaders and Adviser Mackenzie Behrle.

"This makes Molalla the best community ever," said Joe Zenisek, the science and yearbook teacher who started Share the Love 20 years ago.

He said the first few years, the charity funding moved slowly and then during the middle years moved into the thousands. Last year the students and community raised more than $90,000. This year's amount was totally unexpected, said one student.

All in all, in 20 years, the students and community have raised more than half a million dollars.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Joe Zenisek, Dr. Z, shares a few words to close the assembly Friday.

As for those who are receiving the funds, they were incredulous. The three were somewhat dumbfounded by the amount and some found themselves nearly in tears.

"I feel wonderful that the community and students came together to make everything fabulous," said Mike Campbell, a former teacher at Rural Dell Elementary, who also coached wrestling. He had to resign from teaching in the summer of 2019, not because he wanted to but because his cancer had spread to his spine and liver.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - The crowd roars when the check was revealed Feb. 21.

After the assembly, he was surrounded by students who came to wish him well and give him hugs and kisses. He noted that the students were really sharing the love and used his favorite word "fabulous" to show how much this meant to him and his family.

"I'm wordless; these kids are amazing," Lynnis Blatter told the Pioneer, trying to erase the tears in her eyes. "My wish would be to have a TV video to show how great our children are. Taking the joy, I do in Molalla, I never thought I'd be a recipient of it," she said of her community work.

Blatter has been diagnosed with end-stage renal failure resulting from Type 2 diabetes and endures dialysis three times a week. She hasn't made a big deal of her contributions to the community, but she has worked to organize car-seat clinics, emergency preparedness classes, crash reenactments and more under her nonprofit Molalla Communities that Care.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Heart posters remind students, staff and guests that this is all for three families: the Blatter family, Campbell family and Us-Zapata family.

Felipe Us-Zapata was absolutely speechless. "I don't know what to say," he said as his wife knocked her tears away.

"It's been so sad. They have no income coming in at all because Felipe can't work and Elysha [Johnston] (his wife) has to stay home to take care of Felipe and the baby. This is really a game changer for sure," said her sister. They will, in time, get disability but it takes six months for it to start coming through.

Us-Zapata has a large tumor in the middle of his brain and has been out of work since the beginning of November.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - MHS staff members get their heads shaved for the cause.

Local Sponsors

Besides the student activities and games, the community helped make that check so big. Here are this year's Share the Love sponsors:

Special thanks to:

Molalla River Education Foundation for partnering to make STL possible, Hailey MacDonald for designing the STL 2020 logo and Cutter's Hi-School Pharmacy for selling STL merchandise.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - MHS staff members duke it out in a game involving giant burritos.

Bronze Level Sponsors $200-$499:

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - The aftermath of a head-shaving.Studio M Beauty Bar, The Main Shop, Molalla Car Wash, Barbara Rees, Bigfoot Bud Company, The Hammock Family, Big Burger, CrossFit Molalla, MHS OHSET, Muchas Gracias, Dickman Farms, Molalla Communications, Clackamas Federal Credit Union, Kery Weld, NW Transplants, MRMS Leadership, 5th grade Mulino, The Humble Pig Café, Las Delicias Bakery

Silver Level Sponsors $500-$1,499:

El Charrito, San Blas, Rich Barnett, Rural Dell Parents Club, Country Christian School, Roots and Roads Boutique, Molalla River Education Association, TMK Creamery, Clarkes General Store & Eatery, The Rustic Shed, B&B Leasing Molalla Sanitary, The Country Church, Molalla River Academy, Pheasant Pointe, Union Mills Feed, Molalla Rotary, Cutting Edge Fitness, South Clackamas Vet, Clarkes United Methodist Women, Mulino Elementary School

Gold Level Sponsors $1,500-$2,999:

Molalla FFA Chapter and Molalla FFA Alumni, Clarkes Grange #261, Molalla Elementary PTC, Dana Varney, Eagle Mountain Construction, Clarkes Elementary School, MRMS 8th grade NJHS

Diamond Level Sponsors $3,000+

Back 40 Tattoo, Culture Club, MHS FBLA, Molalla Youth Sports, Molalla Key Club, Cindy's Café & Catering, Cowboy Coffee, NW Fitness & Strength and Sheldon, The Dentist Off Main, Anonymous Donor, MHS ASB & Leadership

Kristen Wohlers contributed to this story.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Jenna Langendorfer sings her original song, 'You will make it Out' at the closing assembly.PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Teachers share some tasty? treats with judges and other attendees.PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Share the Love coordinator Clay Sperl offers some inspirational words before the check reveal.PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Students prep for the big reveal.PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - It's almost time...PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Almost there...PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Molalla High School student leaders reveal the big check at the closing assembly on Friday, Feb. 21.PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Share the Love coordinators Clay Sperl and Cori Oster show off the check in the amount of $147,695.45.


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