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SWAG week earns money for charity

One William Blount High School teacher has recently raised the bar on giving back to the community.  Last year, for the first time, teacher Chris Taylor introduced a new program that, over the course of a week of activities, helps Key Club students to raise money for a worthy cause.  SWAG, or Students With A Goal, designs a week-long fundraiser for their chosen charity. 

Each year, students are asked to research various charities, then the selected causes are put to a vote.  St. Jude's Children's Hospital was chosen last year.  This year, the charity is Stand Up, an organization dedicated to helping homeless children. 

The event begins on April 19, 2010, and concludes on April 23.  Over the course of those five days there will be five assemblies including an introduction; Fear Factor; a Male Beauty Pageant; and skits and dance-offs.  All of the events will be student-directed and student-created.  Says sponsor Chris Taylor, 'I want my students to own the event and be proud of what they have accomplished.'  Ninety percent of the week is run entirely by students. 

According to Taylor, the idea for the event came from the community in Oklahoma where he grew up, where three local high schools participated in similar events.  In a faculty meeting, he brought up the idea.  Assistant Principal Jennifer Moore says that he was very enthusiastic about the event.  Normally, teachers grumble about losing class time, particularly several classes over the course of a week; but Taylor was so passionate about SWAG week that no one could turn him down.  Says Moore, 'How can you argue with that kind of passion?'

How indeed.  Taylor says, 'This event is a great community builder and is great for helping unite the student body in positive acts.'  Last year, Key Club members raised approximately $7,200 for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  This year, they hope to raise at least $5,000 for Stand Up. 

If you are interested in donating to this worthy cause, please contact Chris Taylor at 984-5500 during school hours.  He can also be reached at his school email address.

For further information about Stand Up, please visit Stand Up For Kids.

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