“Now, something crazy just happened. Do y’all want to hear about it?”
Those were words from Josh Crawford, the father of Summit Charter School student Chloe Crawford, on Aug. 30 at a special version of the school’s weekly assembly called “Round Up.”
Josh was speaking to hundreds gathered in Summit’s new gymnasium on Friday to kick off the new school year and reveal hoiw much was raised by Chloe’s Lemon-aid Stand for Education. This summer marked a revival of the stand (read previous article HERE), which Chloe originally started in 2015 when she was nine years old. It was in operation for two summers, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school and making national news.
After Josh’s speech, the crowd went wild as Chloe and her fellow-student volunteers lifted up a giant check that revealed the stand raised $101,432 over the summer. But things escalated quickly when a guest in the front row ran up to the stage and whispered in Josh’s ear.
“Do y’all want to hear about it?” asked Josh. “Dr. Barbara Carlton has been a friend of this school for 23 years and she just told me that she is going to write a check to the school for exactly half that amount.”
The audience erupted, but Josh said, “Wait, that isn’t all. T. Wayne Davis, another longtime supporter of our school, is going to do the same thing.”
With the two surprise matching gifts, the stand’s proceeds jumped to over $200,000, in two months. Students went over to Dr. Carlton and Davis, giving them hugs and thanking them.
“Words can’t express our true gratitude for Dr. Barbara Carlton and Kitty and T. Wayne Davis,” said Summit head of school, Kurt Pusch. “This was unplanned. We were completely surprised by their matching gifts and are still amazed by their incredible generosity. They have been longtime supporters of our school and their commitments will continue to make a real difference in the lives of our students, teachers, and the entire Cashiers-Highlands plateau.”
Chloe is the founder of Chloe’s Lemon-aid Stand for Education, a student-run lemonade stand fundraiser that operated at the Cashiers Farmers Market every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, June 13-Aug. 17.
“When I initially started the lemonade stand, I wasn’t sure where I wanted the money to go to,” said Chloe. “I realized soon after I started the stand that I wanted the money to go to my school! I wanted to give my school all of the money because we needed a gym. Since I spend most of my time at school anyway, I thought it would be a perfect cause to give to.”
With the combined 2015 and 2016 summer seasons, the stand raised enough funds to fuel the dream of a gym, high school, and performing arts center for Summit. Each facility is complete or underway and after learning Summit now needs to raise critical operating funds to maintain the buildings and sustain the school’s educational programs, Chloe decided to open up the stand again.
The Big Reveal began with a welcome from Pusch
“Today is a great day at Summit Charter School as we join together to celebrate the Big Reveal of Chloe’s Lemon-aid Stand for Education,” said Pusch. “As a new member of this community, much of what drew me here was Summit’s emphasis on the seven virtues. In my first few months as Summit’s head of school, I have seen these ideals reflected clearly through Chloe’s Lemon-aid Stand. The many students, families, and community members who have come together to support our school through this tradition is simply inspiring and will make a meaningful impact in the education of our students.
The seven virtues Pusch mentioned are included in the Summit pledge, which students commit to memory in kindergarten and recite every morning: “Each day in my words and my deeds, I will do my best to live these seven virtues: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Perseverance, and Giving.”
“Not only is Summit a community school focused on academic rigor, but we also place value on character education,” said Pusch. “We want our students to develop the knowledge, skills, and character for success in college and life.”
As the program continued, each virtue was demonstrated throughout the stories and moments of gratitude shared. Chloe’s father Josh gave an inspiring speech that left very few dry eyes in the audience. He applauded his family, the student volunteers, parents, sponsors, members of the community, and the school staff for all coming together to best serve the school. He thanked his parents and owners of Cashiers Famers Market, Tom and Robin Crawford, for once again opening their doors to the kids.
“Without all of these people working together, this doesn’t happen,” said Josh. “But most importantly, I want to thank Chloe. Years ago, I told her she wouldn’t make any money with a lemonade stand and here we are. I’m a school parent and a Foundation board member, but the most important ‘hat’ I wear, by far, is the ‘dad hat.’ Thank you, Chloe, for being brave and inspiring me.”