MUSCATINE, Iowa–Though some people may consider surviving the senior year of high school a challenge in and of itself, 10 Muscatine High School seniors have challenged themselves to make their final year even more meaningful and exciting by competing in Senior Survivor. Inspired by the long running television show “Survivor,” the annual competition puts seniors through their paces to raise money for charities of their choice.
Each year, any team of two seniors may enter Senior Survivor and start fundraising for a charity of their choice. The five teams who raised the most money for their charity then advance to the next round of competition.
This year’s five teams included Grace and Grant Bode raising money for Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City, Scout Schmelzer and Karly Ricketts fundraising for Relay for Life, Kiley Randoll and Paige Mathias supporting the Micaela’s Hope Foundation, Gracelyn Kies and Logan Wolf collecting donations for the Flickinger Learning Center, and Aidan Schrader and Emma Yerington also fundraising for the Micaela’s Hope Foundation. Students raised additional funds for the cause they chose by charging admission for the community events they held Monday through Thursday evenings. Teams received funds based on the number of points they earned by doing various challenges.
Each team felt passionate about supporting the organization they selected. “We chose the Flickinger Learning Center here in town because we wanted to give back to our own community,” explained Gracelyn.
Similarly, Emma shared she and Aidan chose, Micaela’s Hope, “because we’ve seen how the community has come together the last few years and we thought this would be the perfect way to be part of it.”
Similar to how contestants on the show “Survivor” have to complete mental and physical challenges to advance, all of the Senior Survivor teams had to complete activities to earn points. Members of student council, which hosts Senior Survivor each year, selected the challenges, which included late night trivia and an Easter egg hunt around the school with eggs filled with exercise challenges to complete, a diving competition in Carver Pool, an inflatable obstacle course, and a relay race where teams had to add surprising ingredients to a smoothie and then drink it. Though students found many of these activities taxing, they also had fun too with team building activities, such as playing Sardines at the high school one night.
On Friday, March 4, Senior Survivor held its closing ceremony and announced that Grace and Grant earned first place with Kiley and Paige coming in second and Karly and Scout placing third. All together, students raised $20,322 to donate to their selected charities.
Though students felt exhausted by the end of the week, and survived challenges they never expected to encounter (such as drinking blue cheese smoothies) they also felt glad that they had helped raise money for several important community organizations. Though Senior Survivor entails a lot of work, they would encourage current juniors to consider doing it to keep the tradition of school spirit and community support alive and well.
“It’s a great bonding experience with your peers,” said Grant.
Paige added she felt, “just knowing that you’re doing something bigger than yourself,” should inspire students to get involved.