Walla Walla High School student Dezi Southwick, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) which prevents his body from building muscle, receives muscles, in the form of a muscle t-shirt, from the Wa-Hi football team and a friend who wished it for him as part of the school's "Wish Week" and the associated assembly on Friday, February 22, 2013 in Walla Walla
Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.
WALLA WALLA — Early into the planning for this year’s Winter Wish Week program, Walla Walla High School’s ASB students had to come up with a theme.
The clear favorite, Mission Possible, got the students charged and designing a logo for T-shirts. They used a recording of music from the “Mission Impossible” franchise to use on wish-granting missions, and donned sunglasses for that secret agent feel.
The true mission, however, was taking close to 2,000 wishes made by students and staff at the school, and seeing them come true.
“It’s always been our goal to grant as many as possible,” said Summer Carlton, 17, a junior at Wa-Hi and the ASB publicity commissioner.
Winter Wish Week launched last school year as a new ASB program at Wa-Hi, inspired by a similar program at Prosser High School. Everyone at the school, from students to staff, was given a wish card before the holidays where they could write a wish for themselves, and a wish for someone else. The program’s goal is to make as many wishes come true. Wishes started coming true after the winter break, and the program concluded Friday with an all-school assembly in the school’s gym.
ASB advisor Arch McHie said the program had great support this year from returning businesses that donated gifts. Students also had about $1,000 that they raised from the Conspiracy of Hope concert last year to support Winter Wish Week this year. Any funds raised from this year’s Conspiracy of Hope, which also happened last week, will support next year’s Winter Wish Week.
Some wishes, unfortunately, don’t have much chance of getting granted. Out of the many wishes requested, ASB students were able to grant over 200 this year, Carlton said.
“We’d love to get people new cars or send them on vacation but unfortunately we don’t have the budget for that,” she said.
Other wishes take some thought. When one student wished for the school’s staff to be appreciated, the ASB students came up with the idea for “Staff Power” shirts that were then given to all staff members.
Friday’s assembly was a chance to grant some of the bigger, and more touching wishes in front of the whole school.
“These are the biggest wishes, the most entertaining ones, the ones that make the biggest impact, and hopefully touch the entire student body,” Carlton said. A student who wished for new muscles for his friend with muscular dystrophy was recognized for his compassion, and was able to give his friend a shirt with a muscles graphic in front of cheering classmates. A girl who wished for a rocking horse for her niece had her wish granted by students who built the horse in a wood-shop class. Another student who had wished to see two teachers battle with lightsabers saw the wish realized in the gym, with the lights dimmed, and light-up green and red sabers drawn.
Each wish that was granted during the assembly was followed with all the students chanting, “Your wish has been granted!”
Debra Reeves-Wright, an English teacher at Wa-Hi, was one of several staff members who wore orange Staff Pride shirts on Friday.
“I was standing there thinking this is really Wa-Hi at it’s best,” she said after the assembly.