Students raise $23k for teen with tumor

San Benito High School’s Asscociated Student Body members raised $23,000 this past year to help student Brett Mattocks with his medical bills. Courtesy of San Benito High School

San Benito High School’s Benefit Drive, an annual effort by students to help an individual in need, raised $23,200 to help offset the medical costs for Brett Mattocks, a 13-year-old Hollister boy who had a brain tumor removed last summer.

Mattocks underwent chemotherapy and radiation throughout the school year and recently was given the news that he is in remission, according to San Benito Activities Director Catalina Lemos, who coordinated the drive from November 2017 through May 2018.

This year’s fundraising effort surpassed its $22,000 goal.

Associated Student Body volunteers went door-to-door in many Hollister neighborhoods throughout the year, spending three hours on some Saturdays asking for donations. The student organization also held “$2 Tuesdays” during which high school staff and students were encouraged to donate whatever they could to the cause, and they organized a “Miracle Minute” at a school rally, in which students donated as much as they could in 60 seconds as part of a class competition.

During home athletic games throughout the year, students collected donations from home and visiting fans.

“Their generosity is very appreciated,” Lemos said.

Various San Benito County restaurants, including Running Rooster and Panda Express in Hollister and Doña Esther in San Juan Bautista, designated certain evenings when a portion of that night’s sales were donated to the cause. The student government also coordinated a spaghetti feed that raised $5,700 with help from the Hollister Veterans of Foreign Wars, which provided a location and some supplies in addition to preparing the food.

Lemos credited the persistence and caring shown by students, including ASB President Mylah Smiley and Vice President Alanah Martinez, who guided all ASB events, including the Benefit Drive. ASB Commissioners of Community Affairs— Maria Miguelgorry, Kylie O’Connell, Ella Pascua, Jacqui Perez-Archibeque and Janet Armstrong—were in charge of the Benefit Drive.

“They worked diligently to raise as much as possible for our beneficiary,” Lemos said. “All ASB officers participated and helped in raising funds for Brett and his family.”

Lemos also thanked the Community Foundation for San Benito County and ASB students’ parents for their support, including Maria Spandri, Gabby Ledesma, Beth Breger, Vanessa Yniguez, Teresa Sills and Jimmy Miguelgorry.

The effort was truly a community one, Lemos, a Baler alumna, noted, saying that she wanted “to thank everyone in Hollister and beyond that donated, sent positive thoughts and/or helped spread the word about our beneficiary.”

“My students grew so much from this experience,” Lemos added. “It is so important to learn to serve in order to be a great leader, and these students are great leaders. I am thankful to be from such a wonderful place, where we still take care of one another.”

Mattocks and his family were presented with the check at the ASB Banquet on May 21.

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