Share the Love campaign shatters record
"What community has come together year after year to Share the Love and over 15 years has raised over $250,000 for local families in need?" Dr. Zenisek asked the packed gymnasium.
The crowd erupted with pride as the big reveal was made: this year, $60,157 was raised for the Hall, MacDonald, Suarez, and Walker families.
The total shatters last year's record-setting campaign of $51,422 as all four families will each receive $15,039.
"I laid awake last night until 2 a.m. trying to figure out how to show how much my family, and I know these families, appreciate every one of you and everyone in the community," Andrea Walker said after the check was revealed.
"The only words that come to my mind are 'thank you,' and I just don't think that's enough," she said.
Maria Suarez was unable to attend the closing assembly as an infection had developed days before, hospitalizing her.
Carina Suarez, her niece, spoke in her place.
"She's very grateful … for all of you guys, the little ones, the old ones, and everyone that came together and helping all of us; there's no words, thank you so much," she said.
Donna Hall took the microphone despite being uncomfortable speaking in front of so many people, she said.
"In no way, shape, or form did I think I'd be on this side," she said. "But I'm grateful; thank you very, very much. I can't say enough about Molalla High School, the community, my family."
Zenisek said that after teaching in the district for more than 25 years, he's heard the expression "It's just Molalla" when "students, parents, or staff are reacting to some sort of community failure, whether it's at the classroom level, or larger in the community."
He said that expression is one of failure, resignation, and defeat.
"Today I want to challenge everyone in this assembly, in this community, to never use that expression in that way again," he said to the crowd. "Because in case you haven't noticed it, in the last three weeks, you … the entire community of Molalla, opened up your hearts, your wallets, to raise over $60,000 for four Molalla families from your community in need; that is an incredible accomplishment."
The assembly built up to the big reveal as some final events unfolded, including a few lovable teacher promises: John Flavin and Hayley Zeal smashed eggs on each other's heads; Kurt Van Deren, Zeal, Flavin, and Randy Dalton all sang carpool karaoke, a spin on the popular program from "The Late Show with James Corden;" Kurt Hagen showed off his winning sexy legs; teachers ran an obstacle course in hilariously immobile inflatable dinosaur suits; and Zenisek and Dalton had a dance-off that led to some facial pie-smashing.
Before the reveal, Dalton took the microphone to give his last speech as the principal of MHS, driving home the point that embodies the entire movement that is Share the Love: kindness.
"[Share the Love] helps give us perspective on life, so I hope we can make this last," Dalton said. "This assembly will be over, and I'm asking that we make it last, that we're kind to one another, that we learn about another person that might be different than us because they have a story just like we do."
Dalton finished with a quote from John Wooden, one of the most admired coaches in sports history: "The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching."