The was successful in providing a frightful evening to nearly 1,400 visitors this year, but it was even more successful in raising money for a worthy cause.
At the Nov. 15 school board meeting, SVHS students Jordan Rogers and Lizzie Torrez and teacher Erik Wyner presented a check for $7,613 to representatives of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the organization chosen to receive this year’s proceeds from the haunted house.
For the past nine years, students have been putting on the haunted house as part of a school club that combines project-based learning, leadership, peer mentoring and community service with creative arts, engineering, marketing, and communications for the students.
This year, over 200 students participated in turning the school’s student union into 20, haunted prison-themed rooms. The students began planning the haunted house during the summer and worked more than 9,000 hours to get it ready for the public.
“It’s not just students deciding what to do, it’s the students running it. That’s not to say that there aren’t adult volunteers, but the adults are being managed and directed by the kids … there are 211 kids there until the wee hours of the morning and there are no issues. They stay in character, stay busy and do their jobs,” said Wyner, the teacher overseeing the haunted house.
Senior Jordan Rogers has been involved with the haunted house since her freshman year and was this year’s student ringleader. Rogers said that the project has been a positive force for the culture and climate at SVHS.
“That’s one of the things I love about the haunted house,” Rogers said. “It’s everyone coming together and it becomes a family. It’s not like the Hollywood movies here, where student cliques don’t mix. All the groups—sports, drama, science, whatever—work together on this.”
The haunted house isn’t just about fun and scaring people though. Each year, the students choose a non-profit organization to support and donate all of the proceeds from ticket sales to. Last year, in honor of SVHS student Erik Murai who was diagnosed with leukemia, the students decided on LLS.
Rogers said the organization was very excited about the nearly $6,000 donation last year and was diligent in letting the students know exactly what the money was used for, so they decided to once again donate to LLS.
“I am in constant awe of the passion and commitment displayed by students,” LLS School and Youth Manager Brenda Hendricksen said. “Nationwide, K-12 students raised $26 million last year in support of kids battling blood cancer. That is power. It’s just amazing.”