It is finals week at Long Beach Unified schools and the campuses are a buzz with activity, students are rushing to their next class and excited with anticipation that summer vacation is just around the corner.
It was no different on the Millikan High School campus on Monday, though there was a feeling of enthusiasm and praise. The two weeks prior students held a fundraising donation drive and collected more than 2,700 pounds of clothing for Goodwill Serving the People of Southern Los Angeles County (Goodwill SOLAC). With each donation, the student’s name was included in an opportunity drawing for two floor tickets for the July 1st Beyoncé “Mrs. Carter Show,” and announces with Goodwill that she is lending her voice for Good concert at the Staples Center.
The drawing’s winners Sophomores Serena Gumbs and Dylan Zuelke along with Millikan’s staff gathered together in the school’s office to acknowledge a job well done and for the presentation of a check for the funds raised in the donation drive.
“I was at my orthodontist appointment when my mom received a call on her cell phone that I won the tickets,” said Serena. “I was so excited. I didn’t think I’d win. I participated in the drive because I wanted to do something for the community.”
“It was a surprise,” said Dylan. “We had a lot of clothes that we saved for our younger cousins and I saw this as a chance to donate and do something good for the community.”
Both students are very active on campus. Serena is a Girl Scout and is working on the highest level of accomplishment for the Girl Scouts. She is in the marching band, has run in track and field, and her two older brothers are Eagle Scouts. Dylan has an un-weighted GPA of 3.86. He is in the band and orchestra, and runs cross country and track and field.
Everyone also gathered to recognize another student, whose name wasn’t drawn from the opportunity drawing, though also deserved to receive the tickets. Sophomore, Gary Lewis is a huge fan of Beyoncé, a bit of an understatement. He too saw the drive as an opportunity to do something for the community, and the chance to win tickets to the Beyoncé concert just gave him more motivation.
Gary was the first student to bring donations. By the end of the drive, he brought in 73 bags of donations, the most of any student. He received donations from his family and friends and even asked nearby residents. On the day of the drawing, the school’s cheerleading squad and others in attendance chanted “Gary, Gary, Gary.”
When he was informed that he didn’t win the tickets, Gary said he was devastated though giving back to the community was really more important. On the following morning, Gary wanted to know who won so he could congratulate them.
Goodwill SOLAC’s President and CEO, Janet McCarthy heard about Gary’s dedication and hard work. She said there were too many good guys in the world who work hard but for some reason never come in first. She decided that was going to change this past Monday morning.
School administration staff wanted to surprise him, so no one told him that he would be receiving tickets to the concert. When he finished his first final on Monday morning, he was told Co-Principals, Jeff Cornejo and Monica Daley wanted to speak with him. When he walked into the office there were about a dozen people there to greet him. It wasn’t until he was presented with the tickets did Gary realize why he was called into the principal’s office.
“Everyone knew I liked Beyoncé, and this morning it felt so warm and nice to see how much they cared,” said Gary. “Prior to going to the concert, I am going to listen to her music and enjoy the positive vibes, and nothing is going to ruin my day.”
Beyoncé’s concert at the Staples Center will be a sellout though there’s no doubt that she will know Gary is in the audience.