Saturday, November 5, 2011

Salem Hills High School Make-a-Wish

We are so excited! This week has been the best ever. I can't describe it. Not even a little bit, but I will try. Every year SHHS student body officers put on a "make-a-wish" week. Our neighbor, Siale Vaitohi, happens to be a student body officer. Whoever they were going to use as their "make-a-wish" kid for this year decided not to participate. Siale suggested to her advisor that she read this very blog. Then, the student council read my blog. They all wanted Quinton to be the "make-a-wish" kid.

I referred Q to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I didn't really think he'd qualify, but he did! The student council invited Quinton up to their school, so they could find out some important facts about him. He came home from that meeting and said, "they're going to make a movie about me!" He was still chill about it, like he is everything else, but he said it with enough bravado to make Jeff and me laugh a little.

Tuesday, November 1st they introduced Quinton to the school in an assembly, which all the students dressed up for. It was the most amazing assembly I've ever been to. They showed his "movie", which portrayed pictures of him, him showing off all his lego ships, his super-hero infused room, him doing some of the exercises he does, him playing guitar, him showing off his scar, and Jeff and I telling parts of his story. They had one girl speak (I can't remember her name!!) who was so awesome who had a wish granted when she was little. Then, they introduced our family to come on stage. YES I was crying because the whole place was standing and cheering. I spoke and told more in depth about Quinton's story. The students were so respectful.

They also had Eric Merkley tell his story, which was really touching. He was a basketball player who thought he had torn a calf muscle. It turned out he had a leg tumor that was going to require amputation. It was when Uintah, the team my brother coaches, came to play Salem that they honored him last year (I just happened to be there -- maybe not a coincidence). He called Q up on stage and had a gift bag that contained a SHHS hat. He told Q that they were inducting him into the "SkyHawk Nest" and gave him the hat. We were sitting on the front row, trying to get Q's attention to tell him to put the hat on because he was just kind of holding it. Finally, he saw us and kind of shook the hat open and put it on his head, and let me tell you, that place erupted into cheers. It was the neatest thing ever!

The SBO President, Becca Newman, called Q on stage. She had a surprise for him. She had contacted Brad Paisley's agent and had gotten a picture and an album cover signed and some guitar pics. What a great girl! That was fantastic.

The student body officers ended the assembly by singing that song from Shrek, "Halelujah, halelujah." Yes, I cried through the whole thing. It was beautiful.

We also did a similar assembly at Barnett in the afternoon. I was scared about changing my talk to fit elementary students, but it was easier than I thought. It went really well too. The kids at Barnett were really receptive and ready to participate in "make a wish" week too.

Q's T-shirts and dog tags went on sale this day also. The T-shirts, inspired by Siale, depict a green Q turned into the green lantern sign, since green is his favorite color.

That night, they showed Thor, Q's favorite movie, at an event at the school. Quinton and Jeff went, and Jeff was so touched that complete strangers were walking around in Q's shirt and dog tags. We just couldn't believe what this meant for us.