High schoolers 'Rally' for St. Jude

Georgetown Prep students celebrate a successful Rally campaign.

Georgetown Preparatory student Jason Liljenquist is no stranger to the work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. After all, his dad, Tom, is a member of the St. Jude Professional Advisory Board and an active supporter of the hospital at events throughout the Washington, D.C., area.

But Jason wanted to do something on his own to help the hospital and last summer contacted ALSAC to see how he and his school could help. Call it perfect timing, but a new program, specifically geared toward high school students, was in the works. Did Jason want to be a part of helping launch Rally Against Childhood Cancer?

You bet. And so did Father William George, the school’s president, and Jeffrey Jones, school headmaster, who gave their approval to hold the program at the North Bethesda, Maryland, school. And at the end of April, Jason and his fellow students at Georgetown presented St. Jude with a check for almost $54,000 – money raised during the school’s event. Since the check presentation, the amount raised by Georgetown students has grown to $60,000.

ALSAC already has established opportunities for tots and elementary students to support St. Jude through Trike-A-Thon® and Math-A-Thon®. College students also get involved through Up ‘til Dawn and St. Jude partnerships with Delta Delta Delta Fraternity and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. But the Rally program began with the idea that there was no organized program for high school students.

The program, which is built around a big high school game, homecoming or annual spirit week, was tested in 45 schools this past year. “There was a wide range of campuses because we wanted to get feedback on what worked, so there were public schools, private schools, big and small schools,” said Amy Stack, ALSAC collegiate marketing representative.

The Rally schools have so far raised $307,000 for St. Jude. The program’s goal is to expand to 100 schools in the 2008-2009 school year.
“We hope this will spark a national movement against childhood cancer,” said Stack. “These students realize they can help. They let their fellow students know about the ongoing work at St. Jude through assemblies, hall projects and school-wide announcements, and then they all come together for a big fund-raising event.”

The students are then recognized at a special event. For example, the Georgetown students presented their check to St. Jude during half-time of a big lacrosse game against their cross-town rival, the Landon School. “But we love how the students make it their own,” said Stack. “We had one school in Edwardsville, Illinois, a public school, that did their event leading up to Valentine’s Day and a big basketball game and challenged the school to see who had the biggest heart for St. Jude. They raised about $30,000 for St. Jude.”

Jason, a sophomore at Georgetown, said few of his fellow students were aware of St. Jude or its mission before the Rally program came to the school. The six-student Rally steering committee and school administrators came to Memphis to visit St. Jude prior to the start of the program. “Everyone was amazed with the hospital and the care it provided for their patients,” said Jason. “The following week we had a school assembly and introduced the new project to the student body. Everyone was really excited to participate, which was why we had such an amazing turnout.”

Jason was joined on the Rally steering committee by Chris Brown, Kevin Dorn, Bill Whalen, Febrian Hillman and Yoon Kim.

“The best thing about the Rally program is watching your student body come together,” said Jason. “Everyone at Prep pulled together for several weeks to raise money for the patients of the hospital and for their treatments.”

 To learn more about the Rally Against Childhood Cancer program or to start this program at your high school, please contact Kaitlin Cooper at (901) 578-2357.


August 2008

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