Tonawanda News — On May 2, the staff of the Tonawanda City School District along with parents, students and community members came together at the Tonawanda High School for an evening of fun and fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and specifically for Paul an eight-year-old student from North Tonawanda.
The district has worked with the Foundation for more than 12 years, raising nearly $80,000 and has helped to grant the wishes of more than 14 children.
Paul, who is suffering from a life-threatening illness, has spent a great deal of time in and out of hospitals and wished for a family trip to Atlantis, where he could swim with the dolphins and be together with his family.
Proceeds of the event at the high school will make Paul’s wish come true, organizers said.
One of the highlights of the evening was a staff dodge ball tournament between schools as well as a huge basket raffle and snack sale.
Teachers, administrators and faculty members volunteered their time that evening to run snack tables, coordinate the basket raffle and to play on the team of their home school. James Newton, superintendent of schools, was also taped to the wall in order to help raise money and awareness.
“The community came out in droves to support this annual endeavor to help local children with life-threatening illnesses,” Sue Heiss, an organizer of the event. “Paul and his family were in attendance and showed their appreciation of the district with a beautiful plaque and speech in honor of their son,” Heiss said.
Throughout the school year the students in the district participated in many fun activities to help raise money and awareness for Paul and the Foundation. Student spirit days, principal for a day raffles, bubble gum day, the sale of stars and bracelets as well as the culminating end of the year community event all helped to raise more than $10,000, enough to grant Paul’s wish as well as another child’s.
“The students, parents and staff members in Tonawanda are a rare group of people who give so much,” Heiss said. “We are a small community but are huge in heart.”