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Raising the bar, quickly
Times photo: Brenda Steurer Monroe High School students Carlee Latimer, left, Alexa Schmidt and Chelsea Wyss organized and worked together with other students to raise $3,230 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
MONROE - A small group of high school students proved that sometimes desire is all you need to make a wish come true.

Carlee Latimer, Chelsea Wyss, Alexa Schmidt, Gail La Voie, and three of their classmates raised over $3,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in less than two days recently.

Latimer said she was listening to a Madison radio station (Z104) that was running a fund raiser for the foundation while she was on her way to school Dec. 10.

"They had stories of kids - it was so sad. It was touching," she said.

When their teacher Sarah Domres suggested they should make a donation, the students took it a step farther - to raise as much as they could.

Their only conflict was they only had two days to get their contributions to the radio station.

Starting with their first-hour class, they asked to have an announcement made over the school's public address system. They sent out an e-mail to the staff to make the announcement in each classroom. Then they started calling and e-mailing parents and local businesses.

"We told them the stories we heard and said it was for terminally ill children," Wyss said.

The response was outstanding.

"It just started piling up really fast," Latimer said. "At first we just wanted to raise $1,000."

By the end of the day, they had raised $1,500.

"Then we decided we just have to get to $2,000," she added.

Domres' classroom became the base for the operation, and she was watching the progress.

"They were so excited. With every donation, they were running into my room saying, 'I got another pledge,'" Domres said.

Students went home that night and told their parents and friends. The school's Web site was accessed to help promote the effort.

At 3:45 p.m. Dec. 11, Latimer and Wyss called the station to donate a total of $3,230.28.

The best part, Latimer said, was that Kessler's Diamond Club matched every $1,000 donated, making their efforts come to $6,230.

The radio station's fund raiser produced a total of about $206,000 for 40 children in Wisconsin.

Latimer believes Monroe students and their families who know people with cancer and other terminal illnesses were personally touched by the financial need the students were trying to fill.

"With other fund raisers, we had weeks of planning. It was fun to see this one pick up so fast," she said.

Wyss said she recognized that younger children with illness are so helpless, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation does something to makes them so happy. Her family became members of Make-A-Wish Foundation's Wishmakers Club.