Make-A-Wish and Emery Bear Drive

Photo by Creative Commons
Emery Miller has been enacting the Emery Bear Drive since he was in elementary school.

When a fundraiser is announced at Perry High School, the students fight tooth and nail to raise as much money, or items, as they can within the time frame given. The Make-A-Wish fundraiser was one of those instances. Make-A-Wish was established in Arizona and has been granting wishes to severely sick children since 1981. Recently, Perry and Basha teamed up to raise money for the foundation.

Student Council Advisor Lerina Johnson said, “We decided with Basha to make it a charity week. We were going to make it a competition between schools to try to raise more money and it worked very well because together we are turning in a check for ten thousand dollars and Perry raised $5239.50.”

The goal for the Make-A-Wish fundraiser was $10 thousand; both schools combined reached this goal with flying colors. Students and faculty were amazed by how much money the school managed to raise especially since this is Perry’s first year of holding a large fundraiser, specifically for Make-A-Wish.

“I never thought we’d get ten grand. That’s really good,” said Principal Serrano.

At the same time as the Make A Wish fundraiser, the Emery Bear Drive kick-started its fundraiser, with a bear toss at the Perry-Basha rivalry football game on Oct. 27. It is the fifth year of the Bear Drive.

Serrano said, “I was a little surprised that we were doing because [Emery] left. We will keep doing it; it’s for a good cause.”

Alum Emery Miller has been collecting stuffed animals for children since he was in elementary school who are hospitalized during the holiday season. He collects bears from schools not only in the country, but also internationally. Just last year, he collected over twenty thousand bears. He was awarded the Character Counts scholarship as well for his performance as a student athlete on and off the field.

Senior baseball outfielder Anthony DeAndrea has been a part of the drive for the past two years. “I want to help give back to the kids who are in the hospital during the holiday season. Emery isn’t here so we need to step up and help promote it around school, get people donating, and help pass out the bears,” he said.

The Bear Drive goal for PHS is 350, and 302 bears have been collected so far. Rivalry or not, Perry and Basha has never failed to come together as a single unit to donate and raise for every fundraiser presented to the schools. Due to the efforts of the students and faculty of both high schools, children will be granted their wishes and other children will have a soft companion to comfort them as they spend their holiday season in the hospital.