Warner High School Kids Raise Money So Elementary Kids Can 'Thunder Up'
WARNER, Oklahoma - Some elementary students from Warner are ready to cheer on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Student leaders from the high school made the trip possible with a big fundraiser.
Three years ago, the leadership students decided to do something for the elementary students who needed some encouragement at Christmas. They had $600, so they bought some toys.
Now they're doing a whole lot more and giving them a trip to watch the NBA game in Oklahoma City.
The bus ride was donated by Connors State College, and the anxious group of high school juniors and seniors are chaperones.
Each older student will be assigned a younger student -- most of them third or fourth graders.
Jollee Williams showed off her own basketball medal. She's a big Thunder fan and that's why she wanted to go.
“Because I've never seen one and I like basketball and the OKC Thunder,” she said.
The student leaders were busy before Christmas organizing donations from the community -- food baskets to assemble and distribute. Lots of toys also had to be wrapped and handed out by students dressed up like elves.
"Last year, [we] were able to give every elementary student a new toy,” Warner High School Principal Jeremy Jackson said. “This year, [we] were able to raise over $11,000. They took the families to Incredible Pizza for dinner, and they hosted another dinner with door prizes and we were able to give each elementary student a brand new, newly wrapped gift.”
The older students asked the younger ones what they wanted for Christmas, and most simply wanted time with family.
“Yes, we were very surprised how many just wanted to go out to eat with their families,” WHS junior Brook Moses said.
A few wanted to see a basketball game, and the idea turned into a bus ride to a Thunder game, tickets and $50 in spending money.
"It makes us all feel good,” WHS senior Payton Jackson said. “We were all so excited to do it. It started as a dream and now it's coming true and it's awesome."
When it started, the student leadership team had to go around asking for money.
“But this year, the community was giving to us,” WHS junior Erik Wiggins said. “We didn't go around and ask, people just wanted to be a part of what we were doing. They kept contributing to the leadership team to help make these wishes come true.”
With the bus loaded up, the group headed out for a night to remember.
With the leadership project moving so quickly from something small in the high school to something larger in the community, the principal says he's eager to see what the next group of student leaders comes up with next year.