When I was in high school, the only thing more important than beating Hillcrest was… Wait. That was all that mattered. We wanted to beat Hillcrest at football. We wanted to beat Hillcrest at basketball. We wanted to beat Hillcrest at volleyball. We wanted to beat Hillcrest at baseball. Heck, we would have wanted to beat Hillcrest at tiddlywinks if it was an option. We also wanted to beat Hillcrest at Spirit Week.
Spirit Week was the big lead up to the Friday night football game against the Rams, and we wanted to make sure that we raised more money for charity and add more bragging rights to the trophy case.
Somewhere along the way, Hillcrest decided to stop participating with Mauldin in a Spirit Week competition, but looking at it now, I think that was a good move because Spirit Week became more about raising money for charity than finding ways to one-up our rivals to the south.
This year, Mauldin students selected “Let There Be Mom” as their benefitting charity. Since 2007, “Let There Be Mom” has worked to preserve the legacies of moms and dads with life-threatening illnesses, and this is the first time that a high school has selected the organization to be the recipient of its Spirit Week fundraising.
Our Mauldin High School students raised $88,786.42.
As LTBM wrote to its supporters, “The students of MHS, led by their Student Council Co-Presidents Ellis Pitts and Charlie Hyman, raised more than $88,000 for Let There Be Mom. From Powder Puff Football to a Dog Show and Silent Auction to Casino Night there were over 40 events planned by the students. Their classmates, families, and community supported their efforts and gifted generously to preserve the legacies of local moms and dads. Thank you to MHS and all who sponsored their endeavors.”
Wow. If that doesn’t say something about the spirit of our city and the generosity of our youth, nothing does.
We hear a lot of media reports of the Millennial Generation. Sometimes they’re described in those reports as lazy and entitled. I remember hearing my generation, Generation X, described in much the same way. We were going to be less successful than our parents. We weren’t going to amount to anything. We were going to be dependent on the generations before and after us for mere survival. As I face down an upcoming birthday that puts me halfway to 90, I can’t help thinking that we turned out OK.
As I look at the Millennial Generation, I want to apply the same filter to them. Lazy and entitled don’t seem like adjectives I’d use to describe a group of students who raised nearly $89,000 for an organization devoted to helping moms and dads with life-threatening illnesses to preserve their legacies for their families. I think it says the opposite. I think it shows hard work, empathy, and generosity, and in a time when we see such anger and hate being spewed on TV, radio, and social media, isn’t that something we could use a lot more of?
Mauldin High School is a jewel within this city, and I think we can and should be proud of the 2374 students who walk its halls. Maybe the rest of us can follow their example from time-to-time.
— Taft Matney serves in Seat 1 on Mauldin city Council. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.♦