-On Feb. 14, Western Wayne student Ariel Hoherchak hosted the "One Love: Valentine's Day Dinner Buffet" at the Waymart Hotel.
It is part of her senior project and was in memory of her Godmother, Brenda Upright, who committed suicide on Feb. 13, 2011. She is a 1986 graduate of Western Wayne.
The dinner was sold out and the raffle was also successful. Proceeds from the benefit went to the Brenda Upright Memorial Fund, which will be given to a senior from Western Wayne who will continue their education in the mental health field.
"I want to thank Randy Thorpe very much because without him none of this would be possible," said Ariel. "Thanks to Virginia for the awesome idea and support and to all our friends at the hotel for their hard work. Thanks to The Waymart Hotel, Tick Tocks, The Crossroads and Tom Munley for the food donations and to everyone who donated baked goods and baskets."
She said that there are "too many businesses" that donated to mention each by name, but that she "appreciates each and ever one."
"A special thanks to The Hair Jam, Little Relaxation Virginia and my mom for selling tickets and to Sue Spewak for collecting money and baskets, helping with the flyer, tickets and all of her support," Ariel stated. "Thanks to The Wayne Independent for the nice story and helping to get the word out, the DJ for her time at the benefit."
She also thanked Brenda's mom and Frank for attending the benefit, even though they could have been in Florida at the time.
"Thanks to each person who bought a ticket or raffle ticket for making this such a great success," she said. "Thanks to my parents for all their love and support. I know my aunt Brenda is proud and I am happy to know that this money will go to a senior who will be able to help others so no one else has to suffer. Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart."
The Brenda Upright Memorial Fund currently has $2,071. Donations will continue to be collected until May 1.
To make a donation, make checks payable to Brenda Upright Memorial Fund, C/O Kelly Hoherchak. Send to 42 Belmont Street, Waymart, PA 18472.
Seniors who are going into the mental health field as a professional counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse or social worker are eligible and can find an application at the guidance office and on the school website, www.westernwayne.org.
The other part of Hoherchak's senior project will be an Out of the Darkness community walk, organized through the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and a speaker from the AFSP who will talk to students about depression and suicide.
Page 2 of 2 - The walk will take place this fall. Proceeds from the walk will go to AFSP. Further details to follow.