Student’s Wish Transforms Chardon High School Choir Room

Student’s Wish Transforms Chardon High School Choir Room

- in 2019 Editions, February 2019, Worth Noting
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Chardon High School in OhioPhotos by Angela Gartner

Katy Lessick, a Chardon High School senior, has a passion — and talent — for music. The singer, future composer and music director wanted to give back to her school community.

She was granted a Make-a-Wish following a battle with the diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor. The foundation in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana provides a wish experience for children who are diagnosed with a critical illness. Katy decided to use it to create a choir room of her dreams — something that not only she will enjoy before she graduates, but also future students.

“The wish is something that she looked forward to and brought her joy, kept her mind off things,” her mom, Stephanie, says. “Having this plan to think about has really lifted her heart on really hard days.”

The project began last year when Katy discussed her wish with her music teacher, Fritz Streiff.

“I was in disbelief and floored when she first told me,” Streiff says. “She was very excited about it and it’s a blessing for all of us. I am deeply honored by her thinking of us and me. She thinks enough of the program here and she wants to give back.

“It was a collaborative effort,” he says, adding that funding was provided by donors such as the rotary club, Chardon City Schools, and others.

As renovations progressed, Katy and her classmates slowly saw improvements in the room, including a new paint job, piano, acoustic paneling and posture chairs — but now the room is complete.

Last month, Make-a-Wish, along with Katy’s family and friends, had a wish reveal party.

Not only did Katy get to officially celebrate her wish, she also received a donated Sweetwater keyboard for her future dorm room. “It’s beautiful,” she said after playing a few notes. Other musical gifts were given from the staff of the middle and high school.

I am just so glad I was able to be part of this,” she said after thanking her parents, Make-a-Wish and the donors for providing her with this opportunity. “I have a really good relationship with Jesus and he brought me through a lot of hard times. I feel it was a good idea to pass things on and to share God’s love. This was the best way I could think to do it.”

“She is an incredible girl and has a big heart,” Stephanie says. “She is very selfless and she inspires us daily. She could have done anything. She picked to redo the choir room, but that’s Katy. We are very proud of her and this legacy she wanted to leave behind.”

About the author

Angela Gartner is the editor at Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine. She previously served as editor for family and general interest magazines in the region. As a journalist, her features and columns have appeared in newspapers and other publications including The News-Herald, Sun Newspapers as well as the Chicago Tribune. She grew up in Northeast Ohio and is a mom of two boys. The whole family is busy each weekend with sports and finding new happenings around the region. She loves reading books, being a board member at the Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and taking the family dog, a Scottish Terrier named Jagger, on his walks.

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