Editor’s note: This story was updated after a previous version incorrectly spelled Angela Arnell’s last name. The Standard-Examiner regrets the error.
OGDEN — Second chance shouldn’t have to mean second best.
That’s the message some George Washington High School student officers, staff members and supporters are sending as they raise funds for school sweaters and jackets for student leaders at the Ogden alternative high school, which serves many low-income students.
Those behind the effort canvassed businesses on 25th Street asking for support on Friday.
Washington High students say they are proud of their school and themselves. They want to show that pride with school sweaters and jackets similar to officers of other schools.
“Why do we have to settle for second best when we know we are capable of more?” student leader Shelby Balay, a senior, said. “We wanted to have the nicer things. We wanted to show off our hard work and have the same things a regular school would have.”
But students at the school have high average levels of poverty, school officials said.
“Our kids, they don’t have as much financial support to begin with,” Balay said. “Other schools have more resources and family.”
That’s why the school’s H.O.P.E. Squad has teamed up with volunteers at Youth Futures Homeless Shelter and students from a Weber State University interventions-based social work class to raise $6,000 for sweaters and jackets for 38 students.
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Senior Miranda Trujillo said she wanted to see changes around the school and to show that Washington High students can have an impact.
The sweaters and jackets would be an opportunity to help the leaders there “feel more like regular kids,” she said.
The fundraising effort took hold when Trujillo asked Angela Arnell if she could help them raise the money they needed. Arnell is in the WSU social work class where students were willing to help and she’s an intern at Youth Futures Homeless Shelter.
“Our instructor in our macro practice class asked the students to come up with a community-changing project,” Arnell said. She believes helping students find an ongoing way to fund the sweaters and jackets fits that bill.
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“We don’t want to make this a one-time event,” said Michael Middleton, who along with Arnell is involved both at Youth Futures and in the social work class. “We want it to be an ongoing fund-raiser.”
Middleton said he’s impressed with the efforts he’s seen from the Washington High students.
“They are great leaders at an important stage in their lives,” he said. “I can’t wait for them to put [the sweaters and jackets] on.”
Youth Futures, which houses some George Washington High students, also put resources toward the effort.
Lisa Araujo, a school social worker and H.O.P.E. squad adviser, said she believes the clothes will help kids make better choices.
“It gives people a chance to see these kids and want to be like them,” Araujo said. “These kids will be visible. Other kids will want to know how they can join.”
If all goes as planned, the officers hope to be receiving their new jackets and sweaters by the first of the year.
Those wishing to help with the effort may donate online at the Ogden School District Foundation website, ogdenschoolfoundation.org/GWHSLeadershipDonation.