Nirav Desai, staff writer
Isaiah Freedman, staff writer
Evan Minniti, staff writer
Students participated in the first ever Wish Week during five days of events designed to raise money and awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.
The purpose of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to grant a wish to terminally ill children. The Foundation, made up of tens of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters, has the goal of, “advancing the Make-A-Wish vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.”
ASB member junior Jessica Moghaddam said, “I think that [Wish Week] not only touched my heart, but the hearts and outlooks of my peers. Wish Week is something miraculous and extraordinary, the point of being able to give a child with a life threatening disease hope is not something you can do every day.” Moghaddam continued, “I’m really impressed that we broke our goal of $5,000, as I am sure many other [Normans] are as well. It united our school for one cause so universally special. Not everyone can say that they gave a sick child a glimmer of hope, but I can speak for the Normans when I say we did.”
The school’s fundraising spectacle was the brainchild of Service Learning member Aaron Barzi, a senior.
“I initially learned about Wish Week, Make-A-Wish and their intentions to expand to the Greater Los Angeles area during a California Association of Student Councils (CASC) conference. As I joined Service Learning I became extremely interested in making a difference by bringing our school together, [so I] proposed this idea to our class. It was my job to formulate a committee that could lead to a successful event. It was also my job to communicate with those who are involved in ASB and to make sure that all people were aware of their tasks,” Barzi said.
Barzi partnered with Make-A-Wish’s Los Angeles chapter to hold donation drives that were inspired by the story of Lilibeth Pedilla, a 14-year-old Wish Kid battling organ failure who recently had her wish of visiting Disneyland granted by the foundation. Among the events held in Pedilla’s honor were Monday’s informational assembly and Miracle Minute fundraiser, Tuesday’s dodgeball game, Wednesday’s Disney day, Thursday’s staff karaoke and Friday’s pregame Fatburger tailgate and halftime speech from Lilibeth at the boys varsity basketball game.
While organizing these worthwhile events took a toll on Barzi, he feels the outcome was worth the effort he and other students put into the festivities.
“This time has been very enjoyable yet tiring for me. I’ve been able to build very close relationships with everyone that has been involved. Ultimately, all of our hard work and tireless efforts paid off,” Barzi said.
Attributing to this emotional payoff was the financial success of some of the week’s events, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“The Miracle Minute during the assembly was the most successful fundraising effort thus far. We were able to raise over $1,000 from all of the assemblies combined,” Barzi said.
Senior Elijah Pilgrim-Duque contributed to Beverly’s goal of raising $5,000 by taking part in the sixth period donation drive.
“My sixth period class with [Paul] Batcheller did so well. I’m pretty sure even though other kids kept on coming to put bills in our container, we were still near the top of the rankings the whole time. It was great, I can’t wait to see what we won,” Pilgrim-Duque said.
For ASB Junior Class President Noah Lee, the affirmation of his well-placed effort is reward enough.
“Wish Week has been an incredible experience for me. Even though helping organize it has been tiring, it’s heart-warming to see the impact we make. I’ve really enjoyed it,” Lee said.
Moghaddam has a few ideas for the next Wish Week.
“ASB, and possibly Service Learning too, will most definitely organize a Wish Week for next year. It’s a tradition that we have begun and hope to do annually every year forward. As of right now, I am not sure about the changes [we would make to how the event is organized], but I look forward to planning next year’s [Wish Week]. Probably a big change would be a higher goal, front lawn events every day during lunch and a better idea of what halftime will look like!” Moghaddam said.
Looking toward the future, Barzi said, “I really think it was a beautiful experience where everyone came together to see how far we can go when we all come together toward a common cause. It was also very inspiring and hopefully influenced people to continue to help others. I believe that Service Learning and ASB will come together again next year to hopefully make this event long lasting.”