By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — When the Tigers come together and work their tails off, big rewards come the community’s way. Every year, students take the time to be selfless and raise money for a local organization during Tigerpalooza at Norman High School.
Tigerpalooza has been gaining ground every year as students continue to top themselves and double funds raised. This year, the Norman High Student Council revealed at the Tigerpalooza closing assembly Wednesday that the school had surpassed the school’s goal by $5,000, totaling $65,074. The funds raised will benefit the Center for Children and Families Inc.
Hannah Connery, Student Congress president, said the school choose to help this organization because they wanted to help a group that would directly benefit Norman.
“They are unique in how many different services they offer the Norman community. They really help a vast number of people, and a lot of people in our school have been affected positively by CCFI,” Connery said.
CCFI has been working for the better of the Norman community for 45 years. Katie Fitzgerald, CCFI executive director, said the organization has three goals: 1) heal the children of Norman who have been the victims of abuse or neglect; 2) offer programs to aid, educate and strengthen families and 3) host afterschool and summer programs throughout the community to empower youth.
The financial contribution from NHS will go to CCFI’s renovation and build of a new facility that will double the organization’s current space. The teen room of the new facility will be named after Tigerpalooza, Fitzgerald said.
The CCFI needs $3.5 million to complete its renovation and must secure it by July 1 to obtain a challenge gift by the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation in Tulsa.
“With Norman High’s gift, we’re up to $3.25 million,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a huge help to get us to our goal. I’m just so proud of these kids. Norman North also donated some of their SPUD funds to us, and it’s been moving to see the support of both high schools, to see the students in support of other children in the community.”
During Tigerpalooza, students participated in dodgeball, basketball and quiz bowl tournaments, as well as restaurant nights, to raise money. Student also sold baked goods and called organizations to ask for donations.
“We work all year, but things really gear up in February, and then the main week is in March,” said Alix Yaw, Norman High senior and Tigerpalooza senior chairman. “I’m just so proud of Norman High. We’re one big family, and this week brings us together.”
However, with about a week to go to Tigerpalooza’s deadline, Norman High was still $10,000 away from its goal. Connery said the student council had to be creative and came up with mini events to really push through the end.
“We did things like let students throw food at StuCo members for $5 and we taped our principal to the wall. We charged $1 for every strip of tape. These little things kept students excited about Tigerpalooza and really added up,” Connery said.
To encourage students to step up and work even harder at raising funds for CCFI, two students made wild pledges to remove hair from their bodies in front of all of Norman High if the school hit its fundraising goal.
Gavin Nadeau promised to shave his full head of hair, while Quintin Beck promised to have his chest waxed at the Tigerpalooza closing assembly. Neither Nadeau or Beck disappointed Norman High and hair tumbled to the ground while students went wild, cheering their classmates on.
Additionally, three Norman High coaches put on quite the show for students with Wrestlemania 2014 at the closing assembly.
Yaw said coach Ian Dewey created a fake Twitter account under the identity Bulk Bogan to go along with Tigerpalooza’s ’80s theme. After some trash talking by Bogan stating that Norman High would never reach its goal, body builder and teacher De Mashburn said he would take down Bogan at Tigerpalooza’s closing assembly if students raised $60,000.
“We had a video of Mashburn challenging coach Dewey at our opening assembly and students were crazy excited,” Yaw said. “It was really fun to see Mashburn take down Bulk Bogan today.”
Principal Scott Beck said he was really proud of Norman High for reaching its goal.
“Tigerpalooza captures what we’re about as a school: giving to others. And this money will go directly into Norman, into our community. Next year, I know our goal will be even higher.”
Top Tigerpalooza fundraisers included: Senior Tigerpalooza King Reed Shafer-Ray, $1235; Senior Tigerpalooza Queen Kaylea Fabri, $842; Junior Tigerpalooza King Braden Heeney, $889; Junior Tigerpalooza Queen Maddy Long, $2,392; Sophomore Tigerpalooza King Nikiel Kim, $1,578; Sophomore Tigerpalooza Queen Amy Pasque, $1,625; Freshman Tigerpalooza King Brian Phillips, $786; Freshman Tigerpalooza Queen Ellen Melton, $4,207; Tigerpalooza Committee King Brandon Gowens, $1,075; Tigerpalooza Committee Queen Sydney Odle, $2,102; StuCo Tigerpalooza King Peyton Powers, $2,892; and StuCo Tigerpalooza Queen Hannah Connery, $3,299.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.