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Rifle High School students making a difference

High school students are typically in need of money. Clothes, food and gasoline tax the wallets of youth and parents alike during the teenage years.

But if Rifle High School students Kaylea Zang or Jonny Owens come around asking for money, don’t hesitate. It is not for them.

These two seniors are raising money for very worthwhile causes as part of their senior seminar projects. Kaylea is producing a fashion show and raising money for the American Cancer Society and Jonny is orchestrating a silent auction to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease research.



For five years, seniors at Rifle High School have been required to complete a comprehensive, culminating project before they graduate. Initially, it was a separate class in response to the changing Colorado civics and government requirements. Over the years, it has evolved and now it is part of the English requirement. The project is very much like a mini-thesis or individual study project that is incorporated into the student’s fourth-year English requirement.

Students must invest and document at least 20 hours outside of class in the project. They have a faculty advisor and a mentor, and they must complete a written report as well as an oral presentation as part of the project. Each project must be community service oriented.



Zang and Owens have the community service component locked.

Zang will host a “Locks of Luv” Fashion Show at 2 p.m. Sept. 16 at Fiesta Guadalajara. She has coordinated the entire event and all money raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society. As an added bonus, all nine of the models in the fashion show will be donating their hair to “Locks for Love,” a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children younger than 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

Eight students and one Rifle High School teacher have committed to the fashion show.

Outside of the academic portion of the project, Zang has learned other life skills surrounding her project.

“I have definitely learned how stressful it is to orchestrate an event,” she laughed. “You have to be good at time management, because there is so much to do.”

Owens will hold his silent auction at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Rifle High School football stadium before the Rifle High School homecoming game, and includes items like autographed Denver Nuggets T-shirts, rounds of golf, a portable DVD player and many more items. All of the money raised will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Owens has a close family friend, Art Mitchell, who has Alzheimer’s, and that spurred his dedication to the cause.

“Art means a lot to me and I want to take care of him and help him however I can,” said Owens.

He said spending time with Mitchell over the past few months has opened his eyes.

“It’s amazing how the disease progresses, and how their lives can change so quickly,” he explained.

Stop by the Rifle Rotary barbecue before the Rifle High School homecoming game and bid on one of the many items Owens will have to benefit a great cause.

These are just two of the wonderful senior seminar projects that the students at Rifle High School are completing. Every student will be finishing a project and helping their community.

For more information on the Locks of Luv Fashion show, call Kaylea at 625-5153. For more information on the Alzheimer’s Silent Auction or if you would like to donate to the cause, call Jonny at 625-0868.

Theresa Hamilton is Garfield School District Re-2’s director of districtwide services. She can be reached at 625-7621.


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