As part of the “No Backpack Day” initiative implemented by Foothill’s Associated Student Body (ASB), students were eased into the incoming school year via activities encouraging peer bonding and self-reflection. One such activity, created with inspiration from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, gave students of all grade levels the opportunity to record a wish for anything they desired for the upcoming year.
While some students asked for vague wishes such as world peace or helping the homeless, others wished for much more selfish things, like endless supplies of candy or trips around the world. Some students, however, epitomized the intention of the newly created “Make a Wish” program.
ASB Advisor Melanie “Captain” Lindsey stated how their “Make a Wish” program was implemented especially for the students who have “a lot of stuff going on that’s pretty rough,” and this program grants ASB the opportunity to “make things just a little bit better in some small way.”
Previous events at Foothill similar to the “Make a Wish” event include the “Winter Wishes” program held during the holiday season, where students were given the opportunity to have their holiday wishes fulfilled; however, Lindsey stated that for ASB, this event “didn’t go as well as we wanted it to.”
“Senior Wishes” was another program very much akin to “Winter Wishes,” where only seniors were allowed to make wishes. The problem was, as Lindsey stated, these wishes were rarely tangible, ranging from either unattainable altruistic ventures where students “were wishing for really philanthropical (sic) things for other people” and eventually digressed all the way to individually focused ones.
With the re-introduction of “No Backpack Day” for the second year in a row, Lindsey said it was “the perfect space” to also introduce a redesigned wishing program called “Make a Wish.”
Of course, ASB isn’t capable of satisfying the wishes of every student at Foothill, as there are around 1000 students, so Lindsey has created an organized system to sort which wishes will be fulfilled. Lindsey explained that they don’t “decide” which wishes to complete; rather, they section them out into separate stacks to determine which ones are able to be accomplished.
“A lot of it is just to do with, ‘can I actually do anything about this wish’?” Lindsey said.
The different stacks include wish cards for sports that will be delivered to sports coaches to support student-athletes, unspecific humanitarian wishes that can’t necessarily be fulfilled and academic goals of students. For students who wrote a wish related to the latter, Lindsey plans to “point them in the right direction to help them.”
There also were the occasional wishes that were sorted out, such as wishes to travel around the world or get Starbucks transported to them at school, which were either beyond reach for ASB or irrelevant to the goals of the program.
Alia Al-Saleh ‘19 is one student whose wish is being considered by ASB. After the school had refused to provide feminine products for her without a fee, which was, in her opinion, “ridiculous,” Al-Saleh decided to wish for donations of feminine products to the health office to make Foothill capable of providing complimentary feminine products to those who can’t afford or aren’t able to access them. Al-Saleh was sure she “wasn’t the only person” that had been in need of feminine products at school.
With regard to wishes, Lindsey stated that when students gave ASB “the story behind” their wish, she thinks “those were the ones that we were able to take more time with and really put more consideration into because we knew the story.” This was relevant in Al-Saleh’s case.
Foothill ASB is currently working on satisfying all feasible wishes. They purchased mechanical pencils for students lacking sufficient school supplies, and they raised money to purchase a bike for a student who needed a method of transportation to and from school.
According to Lindsey, the purpose of the “Make a Wish” program at Foothill was to make “a difference,” however small it may be in students’ lives, and now that’s exactly what ASB is trying to accomplish.
“That’s the whole point,” Lindsey said. “To make a difference.”