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The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

Smoky Now

The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

Smoky Now

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Smoky History of Wish Week

The extensive history behind Smoky Hill’s annual Wish Week traditions

Smoky Hill has celebrated Wish Week for years.

“We started in 2011 because we were looking for something to change from our just winter spirit week which felt like it was like trying to replicate homecoming but really wasn’t very successful. So we started working with Make A Wish in 2011 and that was our first wish kid her name was Cheyenne. And so this will be our 14th year working with Make a wish for a wish week in January,” said Activities Director, Scott Cohen.

In hopes to make the winter spirit week more special, Smoky partnered with Make-A-Wish to make a difference in the lives of a new kid every year.

Hannah Burrin Development Manager for Make-A-Wish Colorado said, “Make-A-Wish Colorado is a local nonprofit with a mission to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We grant wishes to children between the ages of 2.5 and 18 years old who have been diagnosed with a critical illness. The children we serve are not necessarily terminally ill, and the majority of the children we serve actually overcome their illness and live long healthy lives into adulthood. The wish is often the turning point in a child’s battle with an illness and can give them the hope, strength, joy and healing needed to keep flighting! Right now, there are over 450 kids in Colorado alone waiting for their wish to be granted. Life-changing wishes wouldn’t happen without incredible communities like Smoky Hill who believe in the power of a wish!”

Make-A-Wish grants wishes to kids who struggle with critical illnesses working to make a difference in the lives of others.

Burrin also says, “Smoky Hill High School has partnered with Make-A-Wish Colorado for over 14 years to host their annual Wish Week fundraiser. Together, we are able to highlight an important mission to bring strength, hope and joy to Colorado children with critical illnesses. Each year, Smoky Hill is able to feature and celebrate one wish child and family who is waiting for their wish. All funds raised through Wish Week support Make-A-Wish Colorado’s mission to grant wishes. Last year, Smoky Hill raised over $40,000 which helped grant 5 wishes. In just the past 13 years, the Smoky community has raised enough to grant over 44 wishes! Together, we transform lives, one wish at a time!”

Smoky Hill hosts Wish Week to bring hope and happiness to Colorado children with critical illnesses, raising fund to grant wishes and bringing a change into their lives.

Kinsley Whalen (9), Vivians older sister said, “Um, they’re really helping, just like they’re making the, the whole kind of like, journey with my sister like really easy. And I think it’s like really helpful and cool that my sister gets this opportunity and just a bunch of kids and I think it’s like they’ve just made it really easy for us to be able to do everything and she wished for a camper and we I got to go see it the other day, and they’ve been like really kind and helpful and consider of how my sister feels. And they really like, they just like really think of her rather like, more as like somebody they’re trying to help, rather than just like another client, you know.”

Make-A-Wish has made the journey with Kinsley’s sister much more easier from how kind, helpful, and considerate they are of her feelings, treating her as someone they genuinely want to help rather than just another client.

“I work directly with Make-A-Wish we take a look at what wishes are waiting to be granted in there. You know in terms of how many requests have been put in through their office and we do a look a little bit about whether the kid that we work with or celebrate is able to come to a pep assembly. There’s lots of kids that are on a wish list waiting for a wish to be granted that just unfortunately aren’t healthy enough to be able to come to a pep assembly but we would really like the kid to be here. So that limits it a little bit and then you know this one’s unique in that they are a student within our school district and their siblings attend Smoky Hill,” said Cohen.

This particular wish is unique because the student is part of our school district and their siblings go to Smoky Hill.

“I’ve talked to her about it a lot. And she seems really excited. It’s really cute when we get to talk about it. Um, and I’ve told her all the fun things that like, my school does and stuff. And she seems excited. And my mom got her like a tutu and everything to wear. So that’s exciting. And like I said before, every time we talk about it, her face just like lights up,” said Kinsley.

Vivian, this years wish kid, is very excited about everything Make-A-Wish Colorado and the school is doing for Wish Week this year.

Whalen also said, “Just like with all of the posters, and stuff that are around the school, I definitely like see that people are getting excited. And then it just makes me 10 times more exciting. And I feel like I’m also excited because majority of my friends are in STUGO. And we all talk about it and like I said, it just makes me more excited.”

She is also very excited for her first Wish Week at Smoky seeing everything that is planned for this week.

Codie Bowdre (11), “Some challenges we had are just like, coming up with new ideas, because we don’t want to be doing like the same things every year, because it kind of gets old. Just coming up with new ideas and different ideas that we can do that people would be interested in.”

STUGO wants to bring new ideas for events to implement each year, so they can keep things interesting fro everyone.

“So basically how student government works is we’re really just a really big family. We constantly work together, we kind of split wish weekend to different committees so that we can work more efficiently. But really, when it all comes together, we’re working together to make sure that it all comes together. And we’re made raising as much money as possible for our wish kid,” said Alexzander Ford (12), Student Body President of STUGO.

Everyone in STUGO works together to make wishes come true by raising as much money as possible for the wish kid each year.

Alex also says, “So this year, we’re thinking of doing kind of like a Mario Kart race competition inside of the gym during the pep assembly. So we’re working really hard to make sure that that all goes really smoothly. So that’s something that I think all of student government is really excited to put on and really wants to make successful.

(analysis) That’s so cool! Alex and the rest of STUGO are planning a Mario Kart race competition during the pep assembly, and they’re all super excited and working hard to make it a successful and fun event!

STUGO also plans the pep assembly bringing fun and successful ideas to make it fun for everyone.

Ford said, “Yeah, just during all the previous weeks, going to that pep assembly and seeing how connected our student body is, and seeing how motivated everyone is in order to make sure that we’re raising money for our wish kid, and just having an overall great time. It’s been something that’s been truly memorable for me.

They’re not only raising money for the wish kid but also creating lasting memories together.

Burrin mentioned, “Each year, the Smoky community is able to feature and rally around 1 special wish kid and family. Make-A-Wish has 5 wish types – wishes to go, have, be, meet and give. In the past, Smoky Hill has featured kids whose wishes were to go to Disney World, go to the Bahamas, have a Broncos experience, to be an NBA player, to have a bedroom makeover, meet their favorite soccer player and more! Each wish is special and unique to the child to reflect their one true wish!”

Each year the Smoky community comes together to support and celebrate a special wish kid and their family granting their wishes.

“I feel like the school has been really supportive. And I think that’s been like the best part. Because not that like, I don’t want to say I’m embarrassed to my sister or anything, but I’ve always kind of worried like, if people will judge her, not necessarily me. But since she not only has Lennox gusto, and she has like an intellectual disability, and she has autism and stuff. I’ve always worried like, if people are gonna like, like her make fun of her and like, what people are gonna think of her. And I just think it’s like an amazing opportunity that she has to be able to do this. And to know that, like, her name is all over the building, and everybody’s talking about it. And everybody’s like, oh my gosh, I’m so excited. Like, it just makes me really happy to know that she’s accepted,” said Whalen.

The student feels grateful for the support from the school and is excited that her sister was given this amazing opportunity.

“Yeah, one thing we do just for the school is we set up the lip dub and this is an opportunity for every club in the school to like get involved and for us all to be like a part of a community together,” says Bowdre.

The lip dub is a chance for all the school clubs to come together and be a part of a united community.

“The beauty of Wish Week is that there’s something for everyone to make a difference! You can get involved by participating in dress up days, attending restaurant nights and events, donating, and showing your spirit at the closing pep-assembly. Whether you can donate $1 or $100, you can help make an impact for Colorado kids. You can donate directly online at,” says Burrin.

There are lots of ways to get involved, like dressing up, going to restaurant nights, donating, and showing your spirit at the closing pep-assembly. Whether you can give $1 or $100, every little bit helps make a difference to kids.

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