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IB diploma seniors to fundraise with bracelets in support of Kokomo family following tornado

Danni Boylan, IB diploma student and senior, makes bracelets with senior Ella Gottschild. 
They will sell the bracelets during lunches this month to benefit a family in need.

Mary Salzmann

Danni Boylan, IB diploma student and senior, makes bracelets with senior Ella Gottschild. They will sell the bracelets during lunches this month to benefit a family in need.

Mary Salzmann, News Editor

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In response to the devastation the tornado left in Kokomo in late August, International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma seniors plan to raise money to support a family affected by this disaster. After reaching out to teachers of the IB program at Kokomo High School, the students discovered a family with close connections to IB who lost their home and belongings in the tornado.

Danni Boylan, IB diploma student and senior, said IB students will sell the bracelets during lunches this month as well as to classes directly and outside of school. They will also offer an option for students and staff to order them. The IB students will have a delivery system in place during SRT and will bring the bracelets to each individual who ordered one.

Allyson Wells Podell, IB English and Theory of Knowledge (TOK) teacher, oversees many important functions of the diploma program.

She said the family fundraising will assist a single-parent household with two high-school-aged boys. In addition, one of the sons is currently in treatment for leukemia at Riley Children’s Hospital.

Boylan said, “We knew we wanted to do something for the relief in Kokomo but also something that could kind of tie to the IB program and expand its values.”

According to both Boylan and Wells Podell, they reached out to Kokomo High School specifically with a target family in mind. Boylan said she feels focusing on and connecting with one family will let them make a more impactful difference.

Wells Podell said, “It was a family (the students) really wanted to help and they felt that deserved the help they might be able to provide for them.”

This tragedy is personal for many people involved in organizing the fundraiser. Many teachers here grew up in Kokomo, including Wells Podell herself. With one member of the target family also a current “Riley kid” the large Dance Marathon culture at CHS may also see the connection.

Boylan said the students hope that cabinet members will also promote with the GoFundMe page and bracelets they will sell. This will broaden their audience and get the word out to a large group of students who are passionate about supporting “Riley kids.”

According to Wells Podell, the IB program also strongly encourages diploma students collaborate together for a creativity, action and service (CAS) project. After the tornado hit Kokomo, she said the seniors in the diploma program knew they wanted to do something to help and the CAS project fit that idea.

Wells Podell said, “The students first had the idea of one group of diploma students helping another IB student.”

Luckily, the families of the diploma students at Kokomo High School were not directly affected by this tragedy. However, the family the students will fundraise for is close to several students in the IB program and prevalent in the community, according to Boylan.

The students will continue to make and sell bracelets this month in order to raise as much money as possible. Boylan said, “We feel like we’ll really be able to make an impactful difference.”

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