Dozens of students pitch in

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The community celebrated the success of the Lakeridge High School Sparrow Project during a recent school assembly. In the front row were: Emily Pearson, Rachael Hengesh, Ryder Watts, Jimmy Watts, Tyler Moncrieff, Marcy Watts, Parker Watts, Brady Watts, Lizzie Aronson and Abby Ernst. Standing in the back row were: Jennifer Schiele, Kelly ONeill, Michelle Bunke, Mike Sheldon, Bryce Anderson, Mac Mullen, Mason Intlekofer, Camilla Merlo-Flores, Jini Stupak, Allie Bartlett and Alexa Stirek.A fundraiser aiding a local family met its goal — four times.

The Lakeridge High School Sparrow Project last month brought in more than $21,000, well beyond the $5,000 target. The community rallied around Jimmy and Marcy Watts to offset medical care costs for their 3-year-old son, Parker, who has cerebral palsy. Insurance isn’t covering all of the therapy he needs.

The community’s generosity touched Marcy Watts.

“They truly made a difference,” she said. “They made a difference in our lives — they made us feel loved and supported and gave us the financial means to help our son more than we could have ever dreamed. ... They made a difference to Parker. They made a difference to a sweet little boy who loves life no matter what comes his way.”

Lakeridge High School teacher Derek Abbott said the event’s success is no surprise because donors were simply recognizing the many years the Watts have supported local students. The Wattses have served the community for years, he as a Lakeridge High teacher and coach and she as a Lakeridge (formerly Waluga) Junior High School counselor.

“I think a lot of it is who Jimmy and Marcy are and how many lives they’ve touched over the past 15 years or so,” Abbott said.

More than 140 students from Lakeridge High and Lakeridge Junior High schools performed 240 hours of community service to raise the funds. Parker inspired the creation of Lakeridge High’s philanthropic Sparrow Club. The club spearheaded the student-led fundraiser for him, making Parker the featured guest at a movie night, holding a Habitat for Humanity group build and putting on beautification days. Students also penned 510 letters for soldiers and hospital patients.

Lakeridge’s club is a chapter of Sparrow Clubs USA, a national organization founded in 1995.

“Thanks to Sports Medicine Oregon, the Empty Bowls Project, Lakeridge French Club, (Mrs. Jane Kim’s Sushi and Teriyaki), California Pizza Kitchen and countless Lakeridge families for their generous contributions,” said Lizzie Aronson, a senior in the Lakeridge leadership class that’s in charge of the school’s Sparrow Club. “It was an amazing week from all perspectives; the Pacer family truly united for a great cause.”

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