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South Jordan Journal

Monte Vista students showcase talent to grant wishes to Make-a-Wish peers

Jul 22, 2021 12:03PM ● By Julie Slama

Make-a-Wish recipient Sylvia holds a check at a recent Monte Vista Elementary assembly where the school celebrated raising funds to grant four area youth their wishes. (Courtesy of Tori Timothy and Jeff Norton)

By Julie Slama|[email protected]

Monte Vista Elementary teacher Theresa Norton wants students to appreciate what they have and give a little to those who aren’t as fortunate.

For the third year, Monte Vista students stepped up to do just that as they raised funds for not only the three youth who they planned to grant wishes for, but another, through the Make-a-Wish Utah. The foundation will select the fourth child.

“Our goal was $15,000, so $5,000 apiece for the three kids, but we ended up with $21,660, so we can grant another child a wish,” Norton said. “Our students realize that there are kids out there who can’t or don’t have the opportunity to hang out with friends or go on vacation, so they want to make it happen.”

Norton said that the three initial children the students raised funds for all live in the area.  

Ten-year-old Sylvia had a kidney transplant after being diagnosed with stage four kidney failure; she likes to play with her dolls and color and would like a shopping spree that includes art supplies, toys and an iPad. Nine-year-old Max, who is battling leukemia, wants a room makeover, creating a video-game room where he can play with his brother when he’s not having enough energy to ride his bike. Seven-year-old Micah, who has chronic kidney disease, loves the outdoors, so he wants to explore and have adventures with his family and go on vacation in St. George.

“To them, a shopping spree or a vacation is not usual; it’s something that normal kids have with their families and something these kids are looking forward to,” she said. “It’s not being in the hospital. These kids are fighting disease and want a normal life. We want our students to raise money and give back as a selflessness attitude so these kids can have the same opportunities.”

To raise the funds, Monte Vista students held a virtual talent show. The first 20 students per grade who signed up with parental permission were recorded doing their school-appropriate talent. The range varied from sketching and gymnastics to playing guitar and trampoline tricks.

“We had some amazing student talent,” Principal Nan Ririe said. “Everything from ‘50s version of ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ Sinatra style, to karate, dance, baseball. It was so fun to see all the videos.”

Students’ families could share their own videos with family and friends and then donations were made to support the Make-a-Wish children. Parents, school faculty and staff, and local businesses provided contributions, including two large donations that amounted to approximate $14,000, she said. 

There were incentives for students to bring in funds, such as top fundraising students on May 13 could pie a teacher or administrator.

Norton, who has overseen the effort to grant wishes at Monte Vista since Alicia Rasmussen left in 2019–2020, was ready for that pie.

“The first year, I got pied twice and wore a plastic trash bag, but I came home to shower,” she said. “It’s a weird feeling [before getting pied], anticipating it’s coming and what it will feel like. But I enjoy it and the kids do too, and it’s for granting wishes.”