Spain Park SGA raises money for Make-A-Wish

HOOVER – As a junior last year, basketball star Jamal Johnson proposed “HoopComing” to Spain Park High School Student Government Association Sponsor Candace Strickland, who suggested Johnson run for an SGA position if he wanted to make it happen.

Johnson was elected as a senior representative.

“Everyone loved the idea,” Strickland said.

HoopComing turned out to be an integral part of the SGA’s fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Johnson said he thought there was an opportunity for the school to have events centered around basketball the way Homecoming brings the community together during football season.

“Homecoming is usually around football season, and I just figured that we should have like a dance around basketball season, something focused around basketball season,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s idea for HoopComing would turn into part of a larger effort to raise money for Make-A-Wish, which the SGA adopted as its charity of the school year.

Strickland said senior representative Rachel Dees “had Make-A-Wish on her heart.”

“She really became passionate about raising money for that foundation,” Strickland said.

In fall 2016, there was a spirit chain competition with rival Hoover High School, with one dollar donations purchasing a link in the chains, which were displayed at the annual football game.

About $1,000 was raised through this effort.

Faculty and staff members were given two opportunities to wear jeans for one week for a $10 donation—first the week before Thanksgiving 2016 and another chance coming up in March.

Donations from the first “Jeans Week” yielded more than $300.

Spirit nights at local locations of Mugshots and Chipotle netted about $500, volunteers sold water bottles at a Sadie Hawkins dance with proceeds being used as donations and $1,100 was received from anonymous donors.

“It was great to have the community hear about it and want to contribute,” Strickland said.

The week before HoopComing week, the SGA contacted counterparts at Berry Middle School and asked about their interest in helping with the effort.

Spain Park SGA members helped Berry organize a spirit chain competition among grade levels that raised about $1,500, and the Berry SGA members were recognized at the SPHS pep rally for their contributions.

“I hope that it got them really excited to come to Spain Park and have a leadership role,” Dees said.

HoopComing week included dress-up days for students, a pep rally and soliciting donations at the door of Spain Park’s basketball games against Vestavia Hills on Jan. 31 and Hoover on Feb. 3.

The most significant part of the effort was HoopComing Court.

Students nominated three male students from grades 9-11 and five seniors.

The nominees attempted to earn their way onto the court by raising the most money.

Spain Park SGA President Brooke Gilliam said HoopComing Court was her favorite part of the effort so far.

“People were walking around with their own buckets encouraging people to donate, and we were encouraging people to donate to who we wanted to win,” Gilliam said. “It was so much fun.”

Johnson was crowned HoopComing King at the pep rally on Feb. 3, while freshman Nace Allen, sophomore Saji Shunnarah, and junior Josh Lawley were crowned princes.

HoopComing Court donations totaled $1,900.

During the rivalry game against Hoover, which Spain Park won 67-63, Hoover Toyota pledged to donate $25 for every 3-pointer made and $100 for every slam dunk.

After nine 3’s and a dunk from Johnson, $325 was added to the donation total.

HoopComing week resulted in $4,049 in donations, bringing the total for the school year to about $7,000, which was the goal for the year.

“We’re not done,” Strickland said. “We still have a couple of things we want to do.”

A grand reveal is planned for Celebrate Hoover Day in April, where the city’s two high schools will announce their fundraising totals.