Every year, Sun Prairie High School seniors decide on a way they would like to give back to their community before graduation. Two beloved faculty members at Sun Prairie had recently passed away due to cancer, motivating the 2017 graduating class to focus their donation on supporting cancer research at McArdle.
"Every student in our high school had known at least one of the two teachers that passed away and felt the impact that their dedication had on the school," said Justice Hadley, a class co-president and freshman at UW-Madison. "My fellow class officers and I knew that donating to research was something both teachers would have appreciated."
In choosing an institution to give to, the senior class especially valued the local connection with McArdle.
"The class presidents researched different institutes around the country, and we all decided that we wanted to support an institute that was close to home, and whose research would be able to help our families and friends," explained class co-president Nathan Smith, now attending West Point.
The senior class was able to raise money in a variety of ways, ranging from setting aside proceeds from school events like prom to collecting individual student donations. John Barth, a social studies teacher at Sun Prairie, helped facilitate the process, but emphasized that the entire effort was driven and funded by the students.
“Often times young people get a bad reputation of either not knowing or not caring about problems,” Barth said. “We as staff are proud that our kids are so giving, and really want to make their community a better place and pay it forward.”
Director Paul Lambert writes, "We are extremely honored that the students of Sun Prarie High School chose to donate to McArdle. We will use these donations to pursue new discoveries about how cancer arises, and thereby new directions for how we can prevent and treat this human malady.”