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South Valley Riverton Journal

Donating time: virtual school’s twist on charity season

Feb 03, 2022 02:51PM ● By Jet Burnham

Service hours were performed by Kings Peak High students throughout the month of December. (Photo courtesy of Ammon Wiemers.)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Local high schools had successful charity seasons.

Bingham High School students raised $75,852 for Project Strong.

Copper Hills High School students raised $87,513 for Make-A-Wish Utah and to provide Christmas for local families.

Herriman High School students raised $145,496 for the Nixon Strong Foundation.

Mountain Ridge High School students raised $79,148 (with an additional $25,000 from a private donor) for Angel’s Hands Foundation.

Providence Hall High School students donated items to provide Christmas for 15 families.

REAL Salt Lake Academy High School students donated 380 wishlist items to Primary Children’s Hospital.

Riverton High School students raised $194,000 for the Single Parent Project.

Summit Academy High School students raised over $8,000 for the Leukemia Research Foundation.

West Jordan High School students raised $35,085 for Ethan’s Super Angels.

And Kings Peak Virtual High students provided 639.5 hours of service.

As part of the Jordan District Virtual Academy, Kings Peak couldn’t hold fundraiser activities like other high schools because students don’t come to the school building. So administrators came up with a service hours drive as an alternative to charity fundraising.

“We just wanted to encourage service during the month of December,” Principal Ammon Wiemers said. “We didn't want to commit to any one charity. Instead, we wanted to track the number of hours that students were doing, rather than a dollar amount.”

Wiemers said the school leadership wanted the students to give of themselves and they felt that the gift of their time was valuable.

“We wanted it to be meaningful to the students, and so we didn't want to limit it, so anything that they felt was service, that they did for other people, we counted it,” Wiemers said. “We encouraged them to find some way to help somebody and they found a lot of different ways to do it.”

Students reported service hours for volunteering at homeless shelters, shoveling neighbors’ driveways, tutoring other students, cleaning up trash and donating toys. One student and their family spent eight hours volunteering at a soup kitchen.

“I felt that the service hours was a fun way to really get involved and help people in my community,” freshman Adynn Jones-Wahlquist said. She clocked 25 hours of service, including offering free babysitting and knitting eighteen hats for the homeless.

A school counselor provided materials to Adynn and others to knit hats for the homeless shelter. Adynn said staff members supported students, suggesting service ideas and encouraging them to include their friends and family members.

“It made me feel really connected to my school doing service hours,” Adynn said. “It felt good.”

The 250 enrolled students reported 639.5 hours of service during the month of December.

Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary and Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School were invited to participate, and the combined service hours students from all three schools performed totaled 1,153 hours.

Wiemers said this month of service will be an annual tradition that will help unify the student body. An environment of positive energy and caring about community is part of the culture the school leadership hopes to create at Kings Peak High.

“It's important for us to give back to the community; it's just a good thing to do,” Wiemers said. “And we think that students benefit by serving other people. It's a value that we want to encourage.”