Students pay to wear Heavenly Hats in school fundraiser

Wrangell middle and high school students wore hats last week to raise money to buy headwear for medical patients who lose their hair.

Students paid a $2 fee upon arriving at school on Wednesday, Nov. 8, and received a hand stamp allowing them to wear a hat for the rest of the day.

Principal Jackie Hanson came up with the idea after learning about the Heavenly Hats Foundation, a small nonprofit organization that collects and distributes new hats of all kinds to people of all ages who lose their hair due to treatment for cancer or other medical conditions that cause hair loss.

"I'm always looking for ways to kind of engage the kids and the staff into the greater good," she said. "Let's look outside of us and outside of our schools, and our needs."

Hanson was also mindful of the spirit of giving as the holidays draw near. "It's November, so you know it's close to Thanksgiving," she said. "We should be grateful for those in our lives, and wanting to share our generosity with others and our grace with others. So it was kind of building our school climate around doing things for others," she said.

"This is the first time that we've done a fundraiser like this, schoolwide, here," said senior and student council president Mia Wiederspohn. "It's been kind of an exciting thing because it's a bit unusual, but we're all learning about donating."

She added that the amount of involvement and enthusiasm from fellow students had been more than she and the other organizers expected due, in part, to the relaxing of a school policy. "Kids got pretty excited about it, because, you know, we're not allowed to wear hats in school," she said. "It gave us a good reason to donate and participate."

With that in mind, Wiederspohn said the fundraiser turned out to be satisfying for everyone. "We raised $132 between the high school and middle school," she said. "$100 benefits one hospital of patients, and then the other $32 will go out in individual shipments of hat packages."

Hanson said eighth grader Silje Morse wore the most outlandish hats for the project, beginning her school day with an Uncle Sam top hat and later switching to a jester hat. "She had a pretty good hat, the little joker hat," Hanson said.

She added that there were some students who donated without wearing a fun hat or just put their hoodie up. "We had some students that aren't hat people, which is fine, but they still wanted to give," she said. "So they donated and they received a stamp and I said, 'you can wear your smile all day.'"

Hanson said they might do another hat-wearing fundraiser in the spring.


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