U of M News
U of M Campus School Children Make A New Friend's Wish Come True University News
For release: June 6, 2008

For press information, contact Curt Guenther

One little girl with a life-threatening medical condition.  Three hundred elementary school students with big hearts and big ideas.  Five thousand dollars, for presents and a Disney cruise.  That’s the recipe that cooked up excitement and happiness for Taylor Shaw and her family and for all the students and faculty at the U of M Campus School. 

The students were eager to participate in Kids for Wish Kids, a part of the Make-A-Wish® program, because one of their classmates had been a recipient last year, and the children had seen what a joyful experience it had been for their friend.  So, they began to raise money, without even knowing who their “Wish Kid” might be.  Although the teachers worried that the students’ declared financial goal might be hard to reach, the students were undeterred, and they did all sorts of things to raise money. 

Taylor Shaw
Taylor Shaw leads her royal procession, including sixth-grade student escorts Cameron McDonald and Julian Smith and teacher Ernie Shadow, through the halls of the U of M Campus School just before receiving the surprise of a lifetime, courtesy of the children of Campus School. Via the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the students raised $5,000 for Taylor and her family to take a Disney cruise. (U of M Photo by Lindsey Lissau)

They jailed their teachers, who had to pay a fine to be released.  They “gave it up;” that is, each student stopped buying a favorite item and gave the money instead to their fund-raising project.  They paid $10 to dress in clothes other than their school uniforms for a week.  They sold lemonade and popcorn, and they relied on good, old fashioned donations from friends and family. 

Eventually the enterprising students brought in $5000 (more than $17 per student), even though they still did not know the person whose wish would be granted.  Once the students found out that Taylor Shaw would be their gift recipient and what her wish was, they and project coordinator, Campus School second grade supervising teacher Joy Cowan, had just a few weeks to plan the presentation ceremony.

On May 28, when Taylor’s parents brought her to Campus School, supposedly to discuss Campus School community service projects, Taylor was greeted at the door by students waving blue and silver pom-pons, well-dressed escorts wearing crowns, and a master of ceremonies outfitted in a tuxedo.  The honoree was given her own crown; then she and her royal entourage paraded through the halls of the Campus School, past the queen’s cheering, pom-pon waving subjects, to the assembly room, where Taylor was the guest of honor.

She quietly, but eagerly, opened each package from an entire stage full of presents.  They included luggage, swim goggles, beach shoes, a swimsuit, and all sorts of other travel-related items.  When all the packages had been opened, the next thing to open was the stage curtain, and out stepped Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who gave the surprised Taylor tickets for a family Disney Cruise.

The crowd went wild with delight, but soon the teachers raised the ‘campus control’ sign, and music director Susan Van Dyck played the guitar, so the assembly could sing a special version of the ‘We love Campus School’ song, with lyrics arranged especially to welcome Taylor.

The festivities ended with the students headed back to their rooms, the representatives of Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South headed back to their offices, and Taylor Shaw and her family headed to a vacation of a lifetime.  All thanks to the love and generosity of 300 of Taylor’s new-found friends at the U of M Campus School.

Campus School has been the elementary (grades one through six) laboratory school for the College of Education at the University of Memphis for nearly a century. The school serves as a center for research and collaborative partnerships and as a model for teacher education. The U of M College of Education is the number one producer of teachers in Tennessee.  More information about the Campus School is available online at www.campusschool.org, or by calling 901-678-2285.

Founded in 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted almost 155,000 wishes.  The Mid-South chapter, which serves West Tennessee, North Mississippi, and all of Arkansas, has granted 3,000 wishes since it was created in 1986.  More information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation is available online at www.midsouthwish.org or by calling 901-680-WISH (9474).

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