PEPPERELL -- Like most of her classmates, North Middlesex High School senior Maddy Prevost has a lot on her mind, like getting ready to graduate and getting accepted to college. However, unlike most of her peers, Maddy had taken on an additional agenda item: Making a difference in the life of a dying child.
For her senior project, an elective class at the high school, Prevost has chosen to organize and host a floor hockey fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The event will be held on Nov. 16 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. in the gym of the high school. For the admission price of $5, participants can play in a series of floor hockey games. The first person to reach three goals is the winner. The winner of the final championship game will be awarded an authentic trophy to be displayed in the high school trophy cabinet. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Prevost also hopes to have a pizza tasting contest with donated pizzas from all of the local pizza eateries in Townsend. Students would donate to participate and the winning restaurant would be awarded a certificate declaring them the creators of "North Middlesex's Best Tasting Pizza." She is still working on fully organizing the idea.
The idea to have a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation came to Prevost at the end of her junior year.
"My mom works for the American Cancer Society. I've gone to many different events of theirs, so it was always kind of a thing that I felt like I was good at, fundraising and helping people," she said. "I've always said for my job when I'm older, I always wanted to walk away from the day knowing I've helped someone."
Before she had even matriculated into her final year, she had approached Kathleen Penney, senior project teacher, about her plan.
"I sprinted to her and said 'You don't know me, but I have this idea and I want to know what you think about it,'" Prevost said. "I thought, 'this is the beginning of a great, great relationship.'"
Penney was immediately on board with the idea.
"She's a self-starter, she shows initiative, she has motivation and that's what the class is really seeking to instill," said Penney. "Maddy is choosing to make a difference in the world, which is such a beautiful thing."
Prevost came to the conclusion to have the fundraiser be a floor hockey game following input from her peers.
"I had asked the boys in my class what event they would like to participate in the most," she said. "I wanted something that was different and really intense and something that both the boys and the girls would say, 'We should totally do this.'"
For the first four weeks of her class, Prevost had to complete about eight hours of research per week, including detailed reports on how she planned to organize her event, her goals for the semester and what she discovered about herself as a learner, ending the research phase with a 10-page paper.
"I was pretty ambitious. My first idea was actually granting the (child's) wish itself. I was dead set on that. I had this dream to meet the kid and get to know them and do my best to help them out," said Prevost. Soon, she realized, her far reach may have extended her grasp in the limited time she had to fulfill the project, so she revised her original plan to what it is today.
Then began the action phase. Prevost reached out to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and spoke with representative Erin Flaherty about using the foundation's name and donating the proceeds. They were on board immediately. She then had to get the go-ahead from the administration, the gym teacher and the pizza places.
Prevost is hoping to raise at least $700; still, even if the monetary goal isn't met, she's hoping to inspire her fellow students to carry on with the fundraiser in the future.
"I feel like that's the biggest part, how to target my peers and let them know this not only for an incredible cause, but it'll also be so much fun. I hope it will carry on after I'm gone," she said. "I hope that I can kind of set the example that it doesn't really matter how old you are to be able to change somebody's life."