MHS students 'Keep it in Park'

Holly Richrath
From left, juniors Carly Crocker, Brittany Ryva, Kate Owens and Anna Krumholz sell bracelets during lunch at Morton High School two weeks ago. The students are raising money to support Notre Dame student Sarah Park, who was severely injured in a car wreck Oct. 9.

While Morton and Notre Dame high schools may be rivals when it comes to sporting events, that rivalry did not stop MHS students from helping out when one of the Fighting Irish was fighting for her life.

Kate Owens and Brittany Ryva, both 16-year-old MHS juniors, pioneered a fundraiser, which brought in more than $1,600 in less than a week. The money was raised to benefit Sarah Park, 16, who was the victim of an alleged drunk driver Oct. 9. Park has never met Owens or Ryva.

“If it happened to anyone in Morton, I think other high schools should help out,” Owens said.  

Owens said she got the idea to sell bracelets with the slogan, “Keep it in Park, Don’t Drink and Drive,” from her cousin, a friend of Parks, who held a similar fundraiser at Notre Dame.

MHS Assistant Principal Dan Rohman said the two girls came to him and said they thought it would be nice if MHS students could help out. He helped the girls get the fundraiser started.

“Kate and Brittany just spearheaded this whole operation, and they did a great job,” Rohman said. “They were very enthusiastic about it.”

The girls, with the help of a handful of friends and some student council members sold 400 bracelets during school lunch periods, a soccer game, a volleyball game and a football game. Those who purchased bracelets got into Friday’s football game for free. They also received an extra $150 in donations from members of the community.

“The outpouring of emotional caring and wanting to help students the same age who have been through some hard times is very warm,” Rohman said. “It’s nice to see young kids just helping out a kid who has been put into this type of situation. It’s great.”

“After they paid for the cost of the bracelets they ended up raising $1,688 and some odd cents to donate to Sarah Park and her family to offset some of the costs that they’re going to be dealing with due to the accident that she was involved in,” Rohman said.

Both girls said they were happy to be able to help.

“I just think it was a good idea to help out,” Ryva said.  “So many teenagers get in car accidents, but when there’s someone who’s not even doing anything wrong, like they’re just sitting at a light, you realize it can happen to anyone. Your life can be changed that fast by someone who’s drinking and driving.”

The girls plan to donate their earnings to Park and her family this week.