PARKERSBURG - A group of students at Parkersburg High School held a fundraiser this summer so a friend who moved to Las Vegas with his family can visit.
"I was ecstatic when I learned they were going to do that for me," said John Lessner, 15, when his mother, Billie, moved him and his brother, William, 18, in November to Las Vegas, Nev., for a job.
They baked cookies and charged admission to a pizza and chicken wing party and raised about $450 for the round-trip ticket from Las Vegas.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg High School football team members Matthew Santer, left, and Daniel Fox dip ice cream Friday during the annual ice cream social at Stadium Field.
"They just worked really really hard," Mrs. Lessner said.
Lessner arrived in town on July 27 and has been staying with a friend, Sean Curry. He'll return to Las Vegas on Aug. 10.
"He's really excited," Mrs. Lessner said.
Curry said he and Lessner have been best friends since they were students at Hamilton Middle School.
"I've known him since the eighth grade," Curry said.
Including Curry, the friends who raised the money were Jen Standley, Chase Shank, Rhett Hopkins, Jared Garrison, Cat West, Kendall Stafford and Jalyn Minnite. The girls made cookies and candy, Curry said.
They're on the Red Wings dance squad, the football team and are cheerleaders. They will be sophomores when classes start.
They held a party and took donations of from $5 to $10 of the 30 or so people who attended, he said. They also saved their loose change for the effort, Curry said.
Most of the money for the plane ticket was raised at one party, Curry said.
The friends got together at the annual Parkersburg Ice Cream Social Friday night at Stadium Field.
"They were super excited," Betsey Curry, Curry's mother, said.
Lessner likes Parkersburg, but Las Vegas is bigger and hotter, he said. He still has family in town.
"There's no place like home," he said.