“Magical Time of the Year” is often a phrase that you hear to describe the period between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. It is a phrase that most people may take for granted, especially during those hectic weeks of November and December. I would have to admit that even I had taken it for granted, until last year when I took over the position of principal at Smith Middle School and witnessed something amazing. That amazing something was Smith’s annual donation to the Special Wish Foundation. Last school year, our contribution totaled over $10,000 and was used to sponsor three children’s Special Wish!
This year, the students were introduced to the Special Wish Foundation earlier than usual. For the first time, during an assembly in October, our students got to actually witness one of our sponsored children receive his Special Wish. It was a powerful assembly and it was great to see the reaction of the students and staff when the child received his wish. Typically, we only receive a photo to hang on our wall of the children and their families after they have been presented with their wishes. Being able to see the special moment first hand and witness the thrill of the child and his family was a magical moment in itself.
Needless to say, our annual Special Wish fundraising kick-off assembly, which was held in late November, had an enhanced excitement. David Seyer, the executive director of the Dayton Chapter for the Special Wish Foundation presented information about Special Wish and presented the school with a photo of the three children and their families that we sponsored from last year’s fundraiser.
After seeing the results from the previous year, our students were eager to hear the teachers discuss the two major fundraisers they would be taking part in for the project. The fundraisers this year included a Read-a-Thon and a Chicken and Waffles dinner with Santa Claus. Through these fundraisers, and the generous donation of time, money and products from community business people such as Judy Blanton, Jeff Carter, Jon Duren, Bob Crotty and of course Santa, we will be able to make another significant donation to the foundation.
This will mark the 30th year that Smith Middle School has participated in fundraising for the Special Wish Foundation. What started as a 5th-grade class service project in Ms. Rose Chin’s class in 1987 has grown into a school-wide and community effort that has raised almost $50,000. The phrase, “Magical Time of the Year,” has a new meaning for me and many of our students and staff at Smith Middle School. I am so proud to be a part of a school and community that so willingly gives to help others in need. What a great life-lesson for these young men and women to experience at Smith Middle School. I would like to thank our staff, our students, our parents and our amazing community for their participation in this “Magical” cause for the past thirty years. It truly is “Magical.”
Ryan Rogers is the Principal at Smith Middle School. Reach him at (937) 415-7000.