Soaring Wings ups its donation record

Since 1988, Soaring Wings students have donated approximately $250,000 to local and global organizations.

Katie Hatzfeld
Wasatch Elementary School students, left to right, Noah Squadroni, Manuel Caizza, Eva Thompson, Beatrice Adelson, Dylan Parker, Finley Johnson, Amelia Ben-Shahar, Benny Paskin and Jacey McCullough present their donation check to Mary Closser of Recycle Utah.
Courtesy of Soaring Wings International Montessori School

Never underestimate the power of children when it comes to fundraisers — thanks to Girl Scouts and their cookie tactics, you probably already know that.

Park City area youth are just as driven, raising funds for the community. To support local and global efforts toward a better future, Soaring Wings International Montessori School, Wasatch Elementary School and Evergreen Middle School students have been raising money since 1988 through a school auction of hand-made or contributed items.

“We started with a garage sale which became a school fair, then a fair with an auction, then we retired the fair during COVID and the auction has continued, always driven by students,” said Duna Strachan at Soaring Wings in a prepared statement.

Soaring Wings, a Montessori in Park City, was established in 1987. “The Montessori philosophy centers on experiential learning and students take that to heart,” Strachan said in the statement. It is a philosophy on an international scale, believing that “when children learn to celebrate diversity, share limited resources, resolve conflicts peacefully and respect all living and non-living things we can begin to evolve to a more peaceful way of life,” according to the Soaring Wings website. At Soaring Wings, students from infants through eighth grade are taught these principles, and raising money for like-minded organizations is an important part of that education.

After fundraising ends in the spring, students budget and donate the proceeds to organizations that focus on promoting a healthy planet for children.

“This year students gave away $1,000 to Summit County Library, Recycle Utah and Swaner Nature Preserve,” Strachan said. “And they sent $2000 to a Montessori school in Turkey after the earthquake there.” Students also raised money for their adopted Navajo grandmother through Adopt-a-Native Elder.

Students are able to maintain relationships with these organizations and volunteer through weekly field trips, with opportunities to continue contributions following graduation. Since 1988, Soaring Wings students have donated approximately $250,000 to local and global organizations.

Evergreen Middle School students Darya McGill, left, and Rhys Oswald present their donation to the Swaner Preserve & EcoCenter.
Courtesy of Soaring Wings International Montessori School

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