The Edmond Sun

March 15, 2014

SLIDESHOW: Swine Week rakes in $441,552

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Visitors at Edmond Memorial High School’s Swine Week reveal assembly were met with a packed gymnasium and larger-than-life-sized painted figures celebrating “Monsters, Oink!” and students yelling, “I believe that we will win,” Friday.

As the reveal came, children representing City Rescue Mission each held up balloon pigs with the amount raised — $441,552. The Memorial students had surpassed their $375,000 goal by $66,552.

Three co-chairs were in charge of seeing the week’s activities go smoothly. The co-chairs were seniors Hallie Ball and Cole Brown and junior Molly Feigel.

Proceeds from the students’ fundraising will go to City Rescue Mission except for 5 percent that will go to Edmond’s U R Special Ministries.

Tom Jones, president and CEO of the City Rescue Mission, told the students, “Sometimes individuals face challenges they can’t overcome. We either help them or push them away. Every homeless person is hurting and feels helpless. It is up to us to help them regain their dignity, self respect and honor.

“It is up to us to reach a hand out and lend them a hand up.”

The students have been raising money all week and Friday was the day for parents and former graduates to bring it all to a close with a live auction. Everything was sold from a prime parking spot for $1,000 to a Thunder package including six tickets, three parking spaces and dinner for $3,000 to a handmade quilt made out of Memorial T-shirts, which sold for $4,500.

Leslie Blanchard purchased the quilt for her daughter Gracie, a senior and Pom Pon captain, and before the assembly was over Gracie had texted her mom saying she and her senior class wanted to give the quilt to their classmate Heath Albert, who is critically ill in the hospital.

“The students adore him because he is kind to every type of group of students,” Leslie said. “The students love him. The character that is built this week is unbelievable.”

Each year the art teacher, Elizabeth Batjes, carries on a tradition started many years ago and makes a ceramic piggy bank based on the week’s theme. This year Monster, Oink, the piggy bank, sold for $5,000 to Dr. Naeem Tahirkheli who started bidding against himself to drive up the price of the bank. His youngest daughter, Mashal, is a sophomore and his eldest daughter, Noor, sitting at his side during the assembly was Swine Week Chair in 2008.

The three largest individual fundraisers were the Hog Jog, $9,766; the Golf Tournament, $17,216 and the Dinner and Auction, $67,900.

Student Council sponsor Elanna Killackey told the students, “You are all going to lead us in the future, and I can’t be more proud than that.”

Following the reveal, City Rescue Mission’s Jones said, “I want to say thank you to Edmond and the entire metro community. The students and residents have made a statement for the character of the entire community and their generosity speaks to that.

“The money they have raised will go to finishing the Men’s Center at the City Rescue Mission, which in turn will double the existing space for the women, children and families at the mission.”

U R Special was chosen this year as the “Common Thread,” an organization that will receive 5 percent of all of the funds raised by the three high schools. That amounts to almost $50,000. Darsi Graham and her husband, Stuart, attended the assembly representing U R Special.

“U R Special was started in 1993 to improve the self esteem and self confidence of children by giving them clothing outfits including shoes three times a year,” Darsi said. “Clothes are a great equalizer. When the children go to school it is the clothes that show.” She told the students, “You are rock stars and we love you.”

TO PURCHASE photos from any of the three Edmond high school charity weeks, go to edmondsun.smugmug.com.