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Gerry O'Brien

Gerry O’Brien

If nothing else, this town knows how to raise money.

Two back-to-back events aimed at helping students rocketed to success last week and need to be acknowledged just one more time.

One was the Graduation Sensation. Now in its fourth year, the march down Main Street of all of the county’s high school seniors – some 450 – is impressive and awe inspiring. More so, it is driving home the message that the Klamath Basin has the culture for promoting higher education. No longer is a high school degree enough, and it appears that the message is getting through.

As Ray Holliday of the Klamath Promise committee says, “These students were freshmen when the first senior march took place. Today, they are keenly aware of the scholarships available” and the need to graduate and seek further education.

To that end, the amount of money Klamath Promise has raised has grown from $20,000 annually to more than $40,000 annually. Holliday, a key mover when it comes to fundraising, said he believes the group will top $50,000 next year. The money raised is given to seniors who first, apply for it, and then have their names randomly drawn. Scholarship amounts range from $500 to $1,000, each.

It’s rewarding to see the success of this program and we cannot thank local businesses enough for donating to such a worthy cause. And we must give a shout out to Holly Stork for her inspiration and follow though in getting the Graduation Sensation off to a running start. Klamath is on the right track when it comes to moving the dial on graduation rates.

Up next will be the Graduation Motivation in September for incoming seniors. We’ll have a new motivational speaker and some other fun stuff for the students.

It was also just as rewarding to be part of the 550+ audience that attended the annual Friends of the Children “Friend-Raiser” banquet Thursday night. While the totals are not in yet, it’s safe to say that $125,000 “ballpark” was raised from the sient and live auctions for the nonprofit from a very willing audience.

Friends pairs a paid mentor with a child for a 12-year period. The formula works because it’s a one-on-one program that brings some stability and consistency to a child’s life and learning.

“Thank you to our staff, board, sponsors, volunteers, and supporters. Once again we were blown away by the generosity of our community and the outpouring of support for Friends of the Children,” said director Amanda Squibb.

Yes, we cannot thank this community enough for all it does for its students.