Number of Participants: 300
Hours Donated: -66
Value of Time Served: $-167,310
Event Amount Raised: $14,000
Event Type: Children & Youth
Date: December 22, 2023
It was a record-setting year for Lockhart Elementary School in the Massapequa School District, which collected the most donations ever in its 35 years partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The annual Make-A-Wish concert was held on Dec. 22, a tradition on the last day of school before the holiday break. When the giant novelty check was unveiled to the audience during the morning program, there was a collective gasp, as they learned that students, staff and families raised $13,720 for the organization that grants wishes to sick children. But that number grew to more than $14,000 in the hours after, surpassing the school record set in 2018, as a QR code on the concert program prompted even more donations.
The morning concert for students and afternoon show for parents featured music from the fifth grade band, chorus and orchestra. The groups performed a variety of Christmas, Hanukkah and winter songs. Band students were under the direction of Nicole Boyle, the chorus was led by Kathleen Dyckman with piano accompanist Matthew Greene, and the orchestra was conducted by Inna Tymochko-Dekajlo. At the end, everyone joined in for a holiday singalong.
This year’s donation will go to the grant the wishes of 3-year-old twins Jayden and Jamie. They will take a trip to Disney World with their family. Joan Siedlecki, from Make-A-Wish, attended the concert to thank students and staff for their effort, and shared stories of children who have benefitted from wishes.
“We have worked together to make a difference in children’s lives,” Assistant Principal Louisa Vecchione said. “Wishes are more than just a vacation, a puppy or a gaming system. Wishes can be the spark that helps children believe that anything is possible.”
Fundraising efforts include a walk-a-thon, a backpack buddies sale, PTA raffles and online donations. This year’s contribution pushed Lockhart over the $200,000 mark in money raised for Make-A-Wish over 35 years.
Student council adviser Diane Bacheller shared the story of a former Lockhart teacher, whose son battled a rare cancer at a young age, and benefitted from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. That child is now 19, has been cancer free for more than 15 years and his picture still hangs in the faculty lounge as a source of inspiration for the annual fundraiser.
Principal Michael DeLuca, participating in his first Make-A-Wish fundraiser, was astounded by the generosity the Lockhart community, and said everyone should be proud of what they accomplished together.
“I am so proud of how everyone in Lockhart and Massapequa came together to make this possible,” he said. “Everyone in this crowd helped make this happen. Every dime, quarter and dollar is helping this family have a lifetime memory.”
1: Lockhart Elementary School presented its annual donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Dec. 22. From left are student council adviser Diane Bacheller, Assistant Principal Louisa Vecchione, wish granter Joan Siedlecki and Principal Michael DeLuca, along with fifth grade student council members Nora Hassanein, Cristian Renda and Robert Holzaefel.
2: The band performed under the direction of Nicole Boyle at the 35th annual Make-A-Wish concert.
3: Fifth grade chorus students sang “Be A Candle of Hope” in dedication to everyone who donated to the cause this year.
4: The orchestra played Christmas and Hanukkah songs.
5: The morning program concluded with a singalong led by fifth grade students.
Photos courtesy of the Massapequa School District