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“Everybody’s been talking about this,” says Allen High senior and Love Week committee co-chair, Megan Plate. “Because she’s a former teacher and was so active in YoungLife, many of the students know her personally, and it’s really taken on even more meaning this year.” For Randi, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in October, the students’ response has been both overwhelming and humbling. “I just cried, but of course, I cry at everything,” she says of finding out that she was this year’s recipient. “But I knew what a big deal this was and I’m so amazed that the kids would put in all this AHS student buying a breakfast sandwich at a fundraiser for Love Week. effort. It really does make me feel so loved.” That’s the idea, the students say, to bring the program really puts an emphasis on this type of work community together and provide love and support to because they feel it’s an important part of developing the someone who has given so much to her community. “It’s whole person. The students see a need to make a difference also rewarding because this is a team effort,” Megan says. and they take ownership of that.” “It’s cool to see what we, as students, can do.”

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living abundantly

years of love

The Love Week fundraiser was started by Allen High School students 33 years ago to support a fellow classmate with a brain tumor. Three years ago, it was taken over by the IB program to fulfill the program’s Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement, which places an emphasis on work outside of academic studies. Previous year’s recipients have included: Allen High English teacher Caroline Clemons, who suffers from scleroderma, an autoimmune rheumatic disease affecting the skin and other organs and Reed Elementary kindergartener Mavrick Veal, who suffered from two types of leukemia. This year ’s event has been bigger than ever, thanks to added student involvement and more publicity, says fellow senior and Love Week co-chair, Betsy Arce. Broadcasting students have created commercials for the event, while the school’s Peer Assistance and Leadership (PALs) class has helped by selling and delivering shirts. The community has also stepped up, with Chick-fil-a sponsoring breakfast one morning and T-shirt sales held at Allen Americans hockey games. Students have also been able to devote some class time to Love Week efforts during their IB Theory of Knowledge class, which allows more students an opportunity to be part of the project. “It’s exciting to see them getting involved,” says the class’ teacher Casey Knight. “The IB

Randi’s husband, Matt, is an Allen High graduate. While the couple has always loved his hometown, the recent events have blown them away. “That a community would do this for someone—and now I’m lucky enough to be that someone—is just remarkable. We’re lucky to be a part of this community and we’re so blessed,” Randi says. The Love Week shirts and logo include a reference to Biblical verse John 10:10, which states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” This is one of the Wideman’s favorite verses and one that they often speak of in their YoungLife group. “It’s a good reminder that because of Jesus, I get to live this abundant life, even though I’m sick,” Randi explains. Randi and Matt have also been incorporated into other parts of this year’s Love Week, such as a muffin bake sale fundraiser the students created in honor of their daughter’s nickname, “McKinley Muffin”. “They’ve just put so much thought into this, and given of their hearts and with their creativity,” Randi says of the students. “I’ve seen the shirts and the flyers, but it’s still hard to grasp all of this. It’s been amazing.” To hear more of Randi’s story and to follow her journey, visit her blog at: treasuresnheaven.blogspot.com. v Nicole Bywater is a freelance writer from Allen. Allen Image x April 2012

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Allen Image April 2012  

Community magazine

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