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Amanda Wallace

During my senior year of high school, I was fortunate enough to win first place at the state level for a competition held by the organization SkillsUSA. After winning first place at the state level, competitors were to compete at the national level in Louisville, Kentucky. My school’s SkillsUSA chapter put together several events and opportunities that helped us raise the money necessary to pay for our cost of attendance.

Although almost every one of our efforts had a positive outcome, I enjoyed our Country Dance most. In order to attend this event, adults purchased tickets for $30 that went fully towards our cause. Each student was ordered to create a raffle basket that would be used to generate more income during the event.

I decided to create my basket with a movie theme. I purchased a popcorn bucket at my local theatre that would hold contents including a gift card and a lot of candy and snacks. At the event, there were approximately twenty raffle baskets. The adults who were attending the event had the option to purchase raffle tickets and place them next to the basket they desired to take home.

My raffle basket sold for $80. At the end of the night, we had raised a great deal of money. This event had put us much closer to our goal of attendance at the SkillsUSA national conference. We raised the rest of the money through car washes, dances, casino trips, bowling and flight lock-ins, and donations from family and friends.

Although it may have been possible to raise the money necessary had we not initiated the Country Dance, I learned a great deal from participating in the event. I put a lot of thought into my basket and was very excited to see it sell. This made me realize how satisfying it is to work hard for something and watch your efforts become recognized.

Our community pulled together to show us that they supported our accomplishments. They were happy to buy our tickets and baskets. This gave me a sense of pride. I was glad to be a part of a community that was delighted to support success.

After my basket was sold, I was overcome with a desire to find more ways that we could raise money. Our chapter did not focus only on raising money for ourselves. We participated in many events that benefited our community as well. This experience made me realize how far a little help can go to someone who really needs it. It also showed me how effective individual people can be if they come together and work as a team to achieve the same goal.

I think that our raffle basket idea was a success and that it showcased our passion for the organization we were a part of. I have taken the things that I have learned from that day and applied them to many other situations. The concept of a community coming together to achieve maximum potential is amazing to me. It makes me very grateful to be surrounded by a society that cares, even now, when I have moved on past SkillsUSA as I continue to grow.