Students lead ‘fun and healthy’ fundraisers

Calling the “Charity Charity Jam” event Sunday “a perfect day” was a slam-dunk statement.

The three-on-three basketball tournament at Gibson Park drew hundreds of high school and middle school youths, and raised $270 for Hood River Valley High School.

On Saturday, another group of HRVHS students held a garage sale at the school commons and raised $312. Both were part of an ongoing series of fundraisers created by students in Evelyn Charity’s Psychology class at HRVHS, in response to budget cuts coming in 2003-04.

Alex Lozano of HRVHS won the slam-dunk tournament, with a little help from Connal Rea, 10, who sat in a chair six feet from the basket while Lozano jumped over him for a dunk with a crowd-pleasing finish.

Tournament winners were Bryan Williams, Rick Vaughan, Dominic Buttaccio and Justin Krizman, of HRVHS, topping 13 other four-boy teams and one all-girl team.

The money raised was only one of the positive results from the weekend, said Charity, for whom the hoops event was named.

“They were more pleased that there was such a fine turnout,” she said, “that they involved a lot of kids in the school. It was fun, safe and healthy.”

Charity and her husband, Dell, helped organize the events, but it was the students in her class who did most of the work of obtaining donations, prizes, and equipment for the events. “Basically, they took charge,” Charity said.

The students are also planning a June 13 silent auction at China Gorge Restaurant, and a car wash at Wal-Mart on Saturday.

“If they’ve learned nothing else throughout the year, they’ve learned to be self-assured and motivated and coordinated and to work as a team and take responsibility,” Charity said. “They were empowered. I think that’s what this whole project was about.”

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