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 Friendship School Students Enjoy Annual Wheel-a-Thon

Students at Friendship School raised some money April 14 while getting outside and interacting with the community as part of their annual Wheel-a-thon fundraiser.

Other schools have fundraisers, and Principal Diana Lynn said she thought it was important for the nearly 50 students at Friendship School to be able to participate in one as well.

"We want them to have all of the same opportunities as their peers," she said.

The Imperial Beach school serves students from the southern portions of the county with multiple and severe disabilities along with health problems.

Parents, community volunteers, and employees at the Imperial Beach campus helped push the students around the campus in their wheelchairs for an hour to see who could get the most laps.

The students seemed to enjoy the activity, which is full of positive reinforcement and encouragement.

"They know it's something more than just a regular school day," said Jillian Jimenez, the nurse at the school.

The volunteers were able to connect with students while getting exercise.

"It's great to see how their faces change when they come outdoors," said Norma Flores, a social worker who volunteered for the event as a way to be more involved with some of her clients.

Danielle Tuton-Gillette volunteered this year, even though her son no longer attends the school. She said the Friendship community is like family to her, and she wanted so support the event her son enjoyed so much.

"It's definitely a worthy cause," she said. "He loved it. He loved the cheering and fed off of all of the energy."

It was the fifth year for the event, which encourages parents and other community members to make donations to the school regardless of how many laps students finished. The money will help pay for supplies and opportunities for the students.

It's not too late to donate. Cash or checks made out to "San Diego County Superintendent of Schools" can be dropped off at the school, or checks can be mailed there.

Friendship School
Attn: Nikkie Bryant
601 Elm Avenue                                        
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

Friendship School is operated by the San Diego County Office of Education in affiliation with the school districts in the South County Special Education Local Plan Area. It serves students who range in age from 3 to 22.