During the month of December, Payson Junior High held a fundraiser to see which grade could raise the most money. The event was called Cash Wars and was held for the benefit of an orphanage in Hermosillo, Mexico. As a school, students and staff were able to raise $1500 dollars to provide Christmas for children who would otherwise gone without.
The freshman ended up “winning” by raising the most money, and were rewarded with a special assembly: a teacher talent show. Various teachers performed beautiful music numbers through song, with one group playing the bagpipes. There were also dance numbers and videos which were a big hit. The assembly was a fun event and the 9th graders sure enjoyed their reward.
The money raised was taken down in person by school Principal Carl Swenson and his family, as well as Assistant Principal Jesse Sorenson and his family. They went to the orphanage and were able to spend quality time with those incredible children. They took the children shoe shopping- a first for most of the kids who had never picked out and purchased a pair of brand new shoes before. Children were delighted to try on the shoes and make the important decision all by themselves.
Principal Swenson commented, “Spending time in Mexico helping children at an orphanage is a wonderful way to spend Christmas. It is a wonderful opportunity to watch the children participate in events for the first time that we think are regular events in life such as shoe shopping for the first time or watching a movie in a large new movie theater. Events like this are life changing for myself and hopefully for the children in the orphanage.
Time was spent playing games on the playground, blowing bubbles, making paper chains for Christmas decorations and preparing for the big Christmas dinner. Santa came with a specific gift for each child (ages range from toddler up to about 15 years old). Everyone had a wonderful time being together and enjoying this special Christmas celebration with the incredible children.
Another treat was taking the group to a movie-another first for most of the children. Some of the money was spent on three new water heaters for the building. Additionally, an individual graciously donated new sheets for everybody at the orphanage. Though the older sheets had just been washed and changed that day, the house moms and older girls quickly washed and replaced them with the brand new, beautiful sheets! They were incredibly grateful and so excited to have them.
Jill Swenson Abbott, Principal Swenson’s daughter who went on the trip, said, “On our last day we took the teenage girls with us to the beach. They didn’t care how cold it was, they loved playing in the water!”
Katie Swenson, another daughter, explained, “I am so grateful for the past week that I got to spend in an orphanage in Mexico with my family. Can't think of a better way I could have spent Christmas! Makes me appreciate all the little things in life that I have to be grateful for!”
All of the people who went to Mexico to meet these children had an incredible experience. We are very proud of our students for raising money for children their own whose lives are so very different in Mexico. Students were often talking about how neat it was that they could help others during the special Christmas season. Though the talent show was a fun reward, students were constantly saying that they just want to help make Christmas special for those kids.