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South Jordan Journal

Bingham’s True Blue winter fundraiser supported local children with medical conditions

Mar 09, 2023 10:13AM ● By Julie Slama

Bingham students held a family carnival to help raise money for True Blue, their winter fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of Bingham High)

Bingham High senior Gabe Cain said he isn’t one to sing, but he was willing to try for a good cause.

As part of Bingham High’s True Blue winter fundraiser, the annual Mr. True Blue pageant was held.  Cain was one of the contestants.

“I didn’t really sing,” he said. “I dressed up like Justin Bieber a little bit and then just lip synched one of his Christmas songs. My parents came and I told them, ‘No recording.’ They definitely broke that rule.”

The public relations student body officer who likes organizing events and being behind the scenes admitted being on stage performing was out of his comfort zone.

“I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t really want to go out in front of people, but when I saw a bunch of my friends, it actually became a fun thing,” he said. “It’s one of the bigger events of True Blue, a way to get everyone involved. The senior boys are part of this mock pageant, and everyone comes in formal dress. The audience can buy a regular ticket or a VIP ticket and be served food and make a night of it.  The senior guys on stage have a talent section, a runway section and then an interview; it’s all meant to be fun.”

For his interview, Cain was asked about his celebrity crush, Zendaya, and the perfect date they’d go on; his response was a hike to a lake where they’d picnic.  

He was named second runner-up.

“I missed out on the crown, but all the money raised from it goes to True Blue,” he said about the $3,000 raised in that event alone.

Overall, the $63,000 raised from this year’s annual fundraiser was earmarked to help Angel’s Hands Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps improve the quality of life for local children who have rare and undiagnosed medical conditions. 

They also supported a second nonprofit organization. 

Through a winter school dance, students raised $6,000 to help children get their wishes granted through Make-a-Wish Foundation. Bingham High was matched with a toddler named Presley who lives in the area; his family came to the assembly and shared his journey. Presley’s wish is to go to Disney World.

“It’s cool to see how you can make an impact on your community and other kids your age,” Cain said. “We had the whole student body together at our opening assembly or closing assembly and playing games in fun competitions just to raise money for charity. We’re giving back to their community and we’re being part of something to make a difference, knowing how it will impact these kids.”

Throughout the weeks of December, student leaders held different activities to raise funds.

“One way we raised money is from doing squad jobs, going to houses every night to just see if they need a small job done in exchange for money. We decorated a Christmas tree, did their dishes or vacuumed,” he said. “There was a lot of snow, so we did a lot of shoveling. One house paid us to shovel their neighbor’s driveway for them. I thought that was cool.”

During lunchtime activities, there were fun tournaments and other activities.

“We had pay to play, so they could donate to True Blue to play ping pong, corn hole or some other activity. We sold Candy Grams and then students would write a note and attach it to the cookie or candy cane and then the guys in student government would dress up and sing a song when we delivered it to their class,” he said. “This time, I really did sing, but it didn’t have to be super good.”

Student leaders organized a family carnival where clubs and teams sponsored booths of games for children to play by purchasing tickets, said student body officers’ adviser Ali Bridge.

“We had a lot of families in our community coming to support our fundraiser and have fun. There was a real sense of community and all the kids loved playing games and getting little prizes,” she said, adding that it brought in about $2,500. “It also gave our clubs an opportunity to support True Blue.”

Other groups on campus supported the fundraiser through their own events. For example, Bingham’s Dance Company held its annual Zumbathon and the improv team held a pay to play where as long as students paid, they’d keep performing. Students also could purchase True Blue merchandise.

A lot of students got involved in the annual penny wars where each grade competed against each other to bring in the most points. Coins built up the number of points; and bills, which could be placed in a competing grade’s collection, subtracted from the total.

“One of our seniors, she had people Venmo her donations and then she went to the bank and brought back all these giant boxes of coins,” Cain said, adding that they made several trips back to banks with coins to count before the senior class was declared victors for the second year in a row.

Local businesses supported the students and held spirit nights where a portion of their proceeds would be earmarked for True Blue. Some businesses and individuals gave items such as Utah Jazz and Utah Grizzlies tickets, gift cards and other items that could be used for the True Blue silent auction that was held in conjunction with the music department’s performances, Bridge said. 

Through the years, Bingham students have helped raised money or given service to multiple organizations. Student leaders also have helped fill principal’s pantries with food and supplies by helping the Jordan Education Foundation and made hygiene kits for the International Refugee Committee.

“It all started as a Sub-for-Santa tradition, but we’ve carried it over and expanded to supporting charities the entire month of December. One year, the student government kids brainstormed names and came up with True Blue, and we’ve called it that ever since,” Bridge said. “Every year, I’m always so surprised how willing the kids are to do a lot of activities and put forth so much work. They just show up and are excited about everything and want to help. True Blue is a unifying tradition at our school, a way everyone can get involved and make a connection to our community.”