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Community comes together for ‘Big Give’

The temperature at the football field at Rancho Buena Vista High School was so low that condensation started to form on every metal surface. The bleachers were hard and uncomfortable, yet packed with people that night, waiting for the Big Give Reveal.
The Feb. 26 event was the culmination of a great deal of effort put forth by the students of the Vista Unified School District and headed up by Beth Duncan to raise money for young children with terminal illnesses. Duncan has organized such charity drives before, and now she’s doing it again for Ashleigh Wojcik and Curt White, who have leukemia and kidney cancer, respectively.
The event’s purpose was two-fold. One was to present a check to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for $41,000. The purpose of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to provide wishes for kids who have life-threatening illnesses.
“We went around the city and collected checks, bills, coins and even a few Chuck E. Cheese tokens to raise the money,” Tanner Waite, a student of the Vista Academy of Performing Arts said.
Along with a few key students, Duncan organized the school and the community to raise money for Ashleigh, Curt and the Make-A-Wish cause.
The other purpose was to introduce the students of the district to the children whose dreams they helped to come true. After Mayor Morris Vance presented the check, the first surprise came out. Ashleigh, who had arrived dressed as Snow White, had the song, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” sung to her to by a young woman dressed as Cinderella (visit to see video).
“Curt hasn’t chosen what he wants to do yet,” his father, Geoffrey White, said. “So everyday it becomes something new, which is the joy of it I think. This morning he wanted a jet pack so he could fly to school.” Though he had no wish specified, the varsity team for Rancho Buena Vista High School presented Curt with a signed baseball bat and honorary membership on their team, along with a jersey with his name on it.
“Civic consciousness or community awareness is a vital fact of what we try to do in the Vista Unified School District,” Duncan said. “We teach not only by words and by teaching skills, but we also teach by our deeds.”
Overcome by the support for his family, Michael Wojcik addressed the crowd. “That’s an amazing amount of money that everyone put together to donate to a great organization,” Ashleigh’s father said. “To give Ashleigh the opportunity to feel like a princess for one night … she’s got the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on her face.”