WAUWATOSA, WI – Capitalizing on a friendly cross-city rivalry, students and staff at Wauwatosa East and Wauwatosa West High Schools competed this year to see which school could raise the most money to donate to Honor Flight, an organization that provides our nation’s veterans with the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials and monuments dedicated to their service and sacrifice. In just TIME, the two schools raised a combined $2,800 – enough money to send five veterans on an Honor Flight trip.
Starting during the week of Veteran’s Day and running through December 2, students solicited donations from their teachers and classmates. In total, students at Wauwatosa East raised $800 and students from West raised $2,000. A check for $2,800 will be presented to Honor Flight on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, which is recognized as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The check presentation will take place at Wauwatosa West High School at 2:45 pm.
“I am incredibly proud of our students and staff for their engagement in this fundraiser,” stated Dr. Demond Means, Superintendent. “Our goal in ensuring an exceptional student experience extends beyond academics. By guiding students in their journey to good citizenship, we not only enhance their educational experience, but we more holistically prepare them for their life after graduation.”
Wauwatosa West social studies teacher and veteran Mr. Chad Mateske championed this fundraiser, along with Wauwatosa East social studies teacher Ms. Erin Gould. This is the first year the fundraiser has been held since the COVID-19 pandemic, although it had been held for several years prior.
The cause is one that is close to Mr. Mateske, as his father and grandfather served in World War II and the Vietnam War, respectively. Mr. Mateske was a member of the Army Reserves for more than ten years and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unfortunately, Mr. Mateske’s father was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer, as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Before his father passed in 2014, Mr. Mateske contacted Dan Hayes, the director of the 2012 documentary Honor Flight, and a Wauwatosa East graduate. Since his father was unable to take an Honor Flight due to his health, Mr. Mateske asked if Mr. Hayes could coordinate a visit from any of the documentary’s cast. Before his passing, Mr. Mateske’s father was visited by three of the four veterans in the movie Honor Flight.