San Jose high school students grant wishes to members of school community

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Keeping a secret can't be easy among 1,700 students. Yet no one knew who among them would have wishes granted as they scrambled to bleacher seats at the Pioneer High School gym.

Earlier in the school year, students and teachers were invited to make a wish. The 90 students taking leadership classes tried to make them come true. Each of the 12 wishes granted Friday was a surprise.

The girls' water polo team, for example, asked for new balls. And they got them.

Football coach Eric Perry wished for a special evening with his 6-year-old daughter Hailey. He received tickets to Disney on Ice, and Hailey got a new princess dress.

Senior Jake Langedyk wished for a weekend trip to Monterey for his mom, whom he said has worked hard and scarified for him.

"It's kind of our special place that we've always had, and it's great that we're going to be able to do it one more time before he goes off to college," Jake's mom Melissa Erickson said.

Alanis Trujillo wished for a new van for her family because the old one was breaking down.

"There's been a couple times the kids are late to school because the car just won't start," Alanis' dad Angel Trujillo said. "This is, this is unreal."

The family took delivery of a van from Capitol Honda an hour later. General Sales Manager Sam Matar has two sons at Pioneer and he wanted to help out.

"Watching their expression, they really hit it hard," Matar said. "It really hit down there. It felt very, very good."

Leadership class students had to raise the funds.

"I had two freshmen that were lead fundraisers, and they had contact businesses and communicate with them," teacher Amy Hernandez said. "They had to ask the right questions and give the right information. They were really instrumental in getting these donations."

Some wishes were simply fun, such as woodshop teacher Gary Stalions challenging his son, a senior at Pioneer, to a tricycle race before he goes off to college.

This is only the second year for wishes at Pioneer. Because it generates so much pride and spirit, it's already in the works for next year.

Other wishes that were granted:

  • Student Morgan Thompson's mother received a gift certificate to the Cheesecake Factory and another gift certificate for a massage in recognition of raising a family of five as a single parent.
  • Principal Stefani Garino wished that her 92-year-old mother could attend today's rally and meet her students. Mrs. Garino was surprised when her mother joined her on the gym floor. Her mother was also given a bouquet of flowers.
  • Teacher Mrs. Kirk's wish was to recognize the first-year teachers at Pioneer. They were brought out to the center of the gym. The women received flowers while the men received a bottle of cider. They also received Target gift cards.
  • Student Khoa Nguyen wanted to recognize his family for working long hours to support the family. He said they worked from 6am to 8pm daily. Family members were not present, but they were presented with $200 in cash and a Visa gift card.
  • Student Mindy Tran and the school's Internet Club asked to help them support the purchase of solar ovens for people in Afghanistan so they will not burn charcoal or wood. The ovens cost $15 each. The leadership classes gave the Internet Club $200 to support their project.
  • Student Daniel Quint wanted to help with the rally. He was called down to the floor and helped the leadership group emcees.
  • It's unclear who made the wish in this case. Physics teacher Matt Holm serenaded teacher Miss Clem.
  • Student Daisy Diaz Sarellano wished to recognize her mom for raising her and two siblings. Her mom received a $50 Visa gift card and a $45 Target gift card.
  • Student Iridian Pacheco wished to help her family. The father has gone through some hard times finding a job. They were given $175 cash and a Target gift card.

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