The Edmond Sun

February 28, 2014

DWDW raises $249,789 for Peppers Ranch

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Edmond Santa Fe High School students were crying tears of joy Friday after hearing their week of fundraising for the Peppers Ranch broke all records in their 19 years of raising money for a community program.

When the reveal came and the paper house came down with Peppers Ranch Foster Care Community children holding signs showing the students had raised $249,789, the students went wild. They had almost doubled their $150,000 goal.

Before the final assembly, junior Garret Silfies summed up the feelings of most of the students when he said, “It is not about us; it is about changing the lives of other people. This week is a time we will remember for the rest of our lives.”

Student Council President senior Storm Rund said, “This has been a magical week. We loved the cause Peppers Ranch is supporting. From what we understand, DHS (Department of Human Services) is a broken system, and whatever we can do to help the children that have been victimized is truly amazing.”

Rund said the true goal was to build a house for Peppers Ranch, “and because of the commitment of our student body and faculty we will be able to do that.”

The extended motto chosen for DWDW was, “We choose to make a difference.” Students carried that motto throughout their fundraising using Dr. Seuss quotes along the way with T-shirts sporting a quote from “The Lorax” — “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can be.”

As dares were performed during the assembly, DWDW Chairman senior Raj Suppiah joined in by having his thick, dark black hair bleached as part of his contribution to the week. Another student stomped grapes with his bare feet while a different student drank the juice.

Top single contributors included Summit Middle School, $6,500; Odd Squad, $19,000 and DECA, $21,000. Memorial and North high schools each donated $500 to DWDW.

Students were asked to “open your hearts and empty your wallets” one last time as buckets and jars were passed around the gym as they were encouraged to “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Tonya Ratcliff, executive director of Peppers Ranch, told Santa Fe students, “Your dollars will change their lives. The possibility of being able to build a forever home for more children who will never have to worry about being abused or neglected again is about to be a reality.”

Ratcliff said that of the more than 13,000 children in foster care, many will never get the gift of a forever family.

“Our mission will not be complete until every child in foster care finds a home,” she said.

Darsi Graham, director of U R Special, said they were ecstatic to be chosen the Common Thread for the three high schools. Each of the three high schools gives 5 percent of proceeds to a Common Thread charity each year.

“It is great being around these kids; their energy is amazing,” Graham said. “Even though we have been around 21 years, there are still people who don’t know about the work we do.”

Following the assembly Principal Jason Hayes said he could tell in September it was going to be an amazing week when the students started coming up with ideas.

“A lot of credit has to be given to the students and to Peppers Ranch,” Hayes said. The Edmond community continues to amaze me year after year in their continued support of all three high schools.”

 Superintendent David Goin said the organizational aspects of making Double Wolf Dare Week, BALTO or Swine Week happen are immense and constitute great learning opportunities for students.

“I am very proud of the commitment of students to causes beyond themselves,” Goin said.

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