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
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 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
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).