It is Friday afternoon at 1:10, and lunch in the Upper School is about to begin. However, instead of eating in the cafeteria in Safford, over thirty high school students grab their lunches, climb the stairs, and squeeze into room 203, perhaps the largest classroom in the Curtis Building, for a weekly Make-A-Wish meeting.
North Yarmouth Academy’s Make-A-Wish Club has been in existence for well over ten years at NYA, and I am proud to note that, working closely with the Make-A-Wish office in Portland, we have granted over ten “wishes” to children from Maine with a life-threatening illness. Truly, it is one of the most active and vibrant clubs on campus, and each year student leaders decide on original fundraisers to give the club new direction. During the 2016-17 academic year, fellow faculty advisor Liz Smith and I worked with senior Make-A-Wish officers Dana Nichols, Sam Johnson, Andrew Ray, Kiersten Marr, and Sarah Austin to raise money in a variety of ways. From a Black Friday Hockey Clinic to Make-A-Wish Choral Concert to a Make-A-“Swish” Basketball Basket to Valentine’s Day Compatibility Surveys to laser tag to a Cornhole Tournament, students brainstorm possible ideas, develop deadlines, market, solicit local businesses, and volunteer their time to raise as much money as possible. Some of the highlights in the 2016-17 year have been giving a $6,000 check to the Make-A-Wish organization in February 2017 and meeting with Yarmouth resident Barry Conant, who shared with us his son’s “Wish” story and inspired all of us with his positive outlook and desire to make a difference in the world.
The cost of a wish has increased from $6,000 to $7,000 in 2017, and we have already deposited over $450 towards our newest wish! Tireless in our fundraising efforts, the Make-A-Wish Club has several fundraisers planned to take the club through the end of the academic year. Then, in September of next year, a new crop of students will continue to work on behalf of a special child in Maine.