Oak Harbor Middle School Assistant Principal Don Christie recently learned about Port Clinton Middle School seventh-grader Devin Kohlman, who was diagnosed in August with a brain tumor. Several Oak Harbor seventh-graders know Devin from playing football.
Kolhman’s story touched Christie. A few years ago, his daughter, Micheala was diagnosed with leukemia. He was touched by the community’s generosity and support of his family during his daughter’s illness and hoped to be able to someday repay the kindness.
Christie decided to look for a way to help young Kohlman and his family – and to get his students involved, in the spirit of “neighbor helping neighbor.”
Christie approached Oak Harbor Middle School Principal Marie Wittman for ideas on how to help the Kohlman family.
Christie and Wittman developed a plan to organize a seventh-grade benefit dance to raise money to help the Kohlman with gas and other expenses relating to Kohlman’s illness.
“We invited Port Clinton Middle School Principal Carrie Sanchez to our middle school to spend about 15 minutes sharing Devin's story with our seventh-grade class in the auditorium,” Wittman said. “I know many were moved by the mere fact this was a peer and at that point it didn't matter if Devin was from Port Clinton or Oak Harbor.”
Signs advertising the dance were put up in the hallways. Before the dance, Christie and Guidance Counselor Beth Sugalski sold tickets at the lunches.
“We even had some students who were not able to attend give us money. Other monies were donated by board members. We had some student council money so we bought pizza and pop and sold it at the dance for refreshments. We gave away donated prizes and had approximately 100 students in attendance. Over eight staff members volunteered their time for this most worthy cause,” Wittman said.
The dance was an overwhelming success. Recently, representatives from Oak Harbor Middle School presented $1,000 to Devin, along with a football signed by the seventh grade football team, at an assembly held at Port Clinton Middle School.
“I am sure Devin’s family will be very appreciative of the support from the Oak Harbor community,” Mr. Christie said. “This outreach of compassion between middle schools is a life lesson that cannot be learned through a textbook – this is a lesson that will stick in the hearts and minds of all the young people involved.”