School closings

West Ottawa seniors raising thousands of dollars for peers in need

HOLLAND, Mich. -- West Ottawa High School kicked off its largest annual fundraiser of the year on Monday to help students in the community, taking some cues from a popular show.

It's a week long student-run initiative that started with 12 seniors spending all day and night on school grounds and raising money for the school's When In Need West Ottawa program.

"One of my friends needed glasses, and she got them [because of the fundraiser]," said West Ottawa senior Rebecca Lopez. "It really impresses me, we got to do that and see how the community is trying to support people.”

The fundraiser mirrors the reality show 'Survivor,' complete with elimination, reward challenges, and immunity to add to the excitement.

“For me [the first elimination ceremony] was the most anxiety I’ve ever had in my life," said Sam Beetham, West Ottawa senior. "It was very nerve wracking up there on stage.”

Beetham wasn't eliminated on Wednesday, but two of the 12 students were eliminated.

In the first two days of the fundraiser, students raised more than $10,000, which is half of their goal.

“My mom has been baking cupcakes, brownies and have been giving them to me and I sell them at school or lunch time or after class," said Beetham.

All students hope to become the winner and to successfully complete each challenge, including one involving diving deep into the high school pool to grab weighted rubber ducks.

“We had to collect a bunch of rubber ducks and I know as a fact I had the most rubber ducks on my own but then a survivor gave rubber ducks to the second person who beat me out," said Beetham.

In the past three years, students raised more than $40,000 for the When in Need West Ottawa program from the fundraiser.

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