School receives new court after successful St. Jude’s fundraiser

Posted by on May 17, 2019


Students at a Denver school raised more than $20,000 for St. Jude’s Research Hospital, and their efforts brought the school quite a prize.

The students at Thomas Jefferson High School weren’t sure how they were going to raise such a large amount of money, Anne Rice, athletic director and assistant principal, said. So they had to think outside the box.

“They quickly decided to donate all their proceeds from this year’s homecoming dance to this cause, which was over $10,000,” she said. “Students also spread the word through their social media and news outlets, and the community jumped in to contribute.”

This inspired a local mall to donate 18 five-gallon buckets of fountain change to the effort, which students then went coin-by-coin hand cleaning before depositing in the bank.

“Parents, community members, Park Meadows Mall, and Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black were a tremendous help,” Anne said. “But if it wasn’t for our awesome students leading the way we would not have reached our goal.”

Bona involvement with St. Jude’s is a personal story

When Todd Schutte, director of eLearning at Bona, first learned of St. Jude’s work, the impact they have on communities – both local and worldwide – struck him.

“St. Jude’s shares all of their research advancements with other hospitals,” he said, “which, unfortunately, isn’t very common. They completely fund families who struggle financially to stay at the hospital. And they do all of this, and more, without profit.”

Todd wasted no time in getting Bona involved in work for St. Jude’s. He began with his team participating in the Warrior Run, and they now do the St. Jude’s Walk every year. And last year, more than 100 Bona employees and their families participated – a huge number, considering Bona employes about 100 people in their Colorado office.

The company’s involvement with St. Jude’s goes farther, though. Every year, Bona works with a school to raise money, and that school receives a brand new sanded down basketball court.

“It’s our company’s way of getting communities involved with St. Jude’s, but at a local and national level,” Todd said.

Praters donates graphic design capabilities

When it comes to bringing the court to life, Praters is uniquely suited to offer design services and stencils to make it shine and give the students something to be proud of.

“We work closely with Bona on projects every day,” Nadine Tracy, design assistant manager at Praters, said. “So to be able to partner with them and contribute to such a great cause is an awesome opportunity for us.”

One student said, “The court came out really great, we love what you all did. As a basketball player, I’m really happy to have a nice court to play on for my senior year.”

A lasting impact at the school

Although a new basketball court made for an awesome prize, students at the school realized that raising money for an organization like St. Jude’s was really what mattered.

“They resolved to raise as much money as possible, even if we didn’t reach our $20,000 goal and didn’t get the court,” Anne said. “The fact that we exceeded our goal and raised almost $22,000 was so heartwarming, and watching the kids see the court when it was all finished brought a great sense of accomplishment to the students and school.”

To commemorate this huge achievement by the students and the impact St. Jude’s makes within the Denver community, the gym now has a permanent St. Jude’s logo on the entrance.

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