LAYTON -- It says a lot about a school when students, some of whom don't have a lot to give in the first place, can scrounge up extra change and spare dollars and earn more than $10,000 for a good cause.
Such was the case for Layton High School students, who announced Tuesday they raised $10,546 for the Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center.
Principal Ryck Astle admitted he was surprised at the amount, but in the same breath said, "It's not surprising, though, because they do this every year. They just give and give, and a lot of them don't have a lot, and they still give."
Prior to Tuesday's main fundraising assembly, students had raised $1,500 in change collected in the school hallways and student parking lots. They hoped to triple that amount during the assembly.
But when the final number came in at $10,546, far more than their goal, students and teachers were ecstatic.
"I honestly didn't know if we were going to get that much money," said Hayden Gerrard, the student body officer who helped organize the event. "We didn't need to give any extra motivation, either. People just kept giving -- some even giving $25, $30, and up to $50 at a time out of their own pockets. I'm really proud and impressed with Layton High students, because that is a lot of money."
During the two-hour assembly -- the longest assembly the students get during the school year -- students raised money in various interesting ways. Once they reached the halfway mark in donations, they auctioned off students for dates, shaved off a teacher's beard, payed off their U's (unsatisfactory scores accrued from tardiness, unexcused absences or misconduct), waxed one student's legs and dyed another's hair.
The auction reached new heights when Gerrard was auctioned off for a date and received a bid of $400.
Senior Camie Bernards, who offered up the winning bid, said the money came from all of the sign-language class students, who contributed their extra cash. Their teacher told them if they raised $2,500, they wouldn't have to take the term final.
It was enough incentive for Bernards and the other students to not only meet the goal, but exceed it by generating $2,700.
"It's good to give this money to people who can use it," Bernards said.
Teacher Scott Harrop started the fundraising tradition a year ago. Last year, he challenged the students to raise $1,700, which they easily met, so he upped the amount to $2,500 this year, not really thinking it could be reached.
The students were more than happy to prove him wrong.
"I was amazed with how generous some of them were," said Harrop. "I wasn't expecting to get anywhere near that. So for my kids to donate as much as they did, it was amazing."
For Christy Techmeyer, student body officer adviser, the reason for the success was simple. She said the students at Layton High genuinely care about the students involved in Best Buddies, a club that helps form friendships for students with intellectual disabilities.
"We have such good kids who really know how to treat people the right way, which is part of why the fundraiser was so successful. They already have a love for those students and knew that money would be helping them eventually," Techmeyer said.
The money raised is going to the Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center, whose goal is to help create jobs and assist in training for people with disabilities.
With recent state and federal budget cuts, it's getting harder to fund many of their programs, said Merri Ann Perkins, public information manager at PARC.
"Do you know how hard it is to fundraise for that much money?" Perkins said. "It's huge. Can I just say again -- it's huge."