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Sparky Anderson Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy

Detroit Catholic Central High School


Detroit Catholic Central High School LogoDetroit Catholic Central High School will be presented with the SPARKY ANDERSON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING YOUTH IN PHILANTHROPY.

 Detroit Catholic Central High School has kept community service as a core of its teaching since 1928. This dedication to service and charity is clearly visible among the current student body, as they remain active in supporting numerous charities in a variety of ways. One of their more long-standing partnerships has been supporting Make-A-Wish®  Michigan since 1992. This fall, an estimated 200 students and 30 teachers at Catholic Central participated in the 19th annual Shamrock Shuffle, which is a fundraising event benefiting Make-A-Wish Michigan that kicks off CC’s homecoming Boys’ Bowl Weekend.

Participating students are encouraged to run, walk, rollerblade, ride a unicycle, carry a tuba, or wear a costume, but most importantly to finish the race. The remainder of the student body and faculty gather in the bleachers to pump up the runners and encourage them as they embark on the 1.5-mile course. The festive atmosphere features the Shamrock Band, a t-shirt cannon, cheers, floats and more.

Over the last 18 years, the Shamrock Shuffle has raised nearly $137,000 for Make-A-Wish Michigan, helping to grant life-changing wishes to Michigan kids. The funds raised at the event, more than $9,000 in 2015 alone, come from donations made by the Catholic Central community, including family and friends.

“We encourage our students to give back to the community as public servants or financially,” Catholic Central teacher Steven Lemieux said. “While all of our students are required to complete community service, we utilize opportunities like Make-A-Wish and the Shamrock Shuffle to allow our students to see that it doesn’t need to be a painful or dull thing to give back.”

Detroit Catholic Central High School challenges students to live their faith, and work for justice in society through goodness, discipline, and knowledge. Their mission is to promote service learning that is transformative for the student, emphasizing quality of service and reflection to be productive members of society. Freshmen are required to complete at least 10 hours of approved service, and each additional grade (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) add 2 hours to their requirements. By the time a student finishes CC, he will have been required to have at least 52 hours of service - many students will go well above the minimum requirement. Students also participate in daily collections for the missions, and numerous dress-down days throughout the year, which entails a minimum donation to a charity of choice (normally $1-$5). Through these fundraisers, along with the Shamrock Shuffle, CC students will typically donate $40,000-$50,000 to charity in a given school year.

To recognize Catholic Central’s wonderful support for the Make-A-Wish mission, they were named a Make-A-Wish Michigan Leader in Joy in 2014.

Last year, Make-A-Wish Michigan granted 443 wishes to Michigan children. It is only through amazing community supporters like the students and staff at Detroit Catholic Central High School that Make-A-Wish Michigan is able to grant wishes that bring hope, strength and joy to Michigan wish kids and families at a time when they need it most.​