I’m a Survivor

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Whenever I make an effort to learn what is happening in the world and in Livingston County, the news is riddled with stories about the awful things teenagers do. The truth is, teens are capable of extraordinary feats, which is why I wish more people knew about the good things happening inside of Howell High School.

One of the most incredible projects Howell High School orchestrates each year is “Senior Survivor,” and this year, I am one of the contestants. This tradition pits 12 seniors (6 boys and 6 girls) against each other in a competition to raise money for one local charity.  The game is modeled after the Survivor television show, and the 12 contestants are actually locked in Howell High School for 6 days or until they are voted off.  We cannot use any technological devices like cell phones or iPods and can’t have any outside visitors. However, we do get to participate in immunity challenges and reward challenges for treats like air mattresses, ice cream, and cell phone privileges. At the start of the game, we are given a bucket to carry in school to raise money from our classmates and teachers, and those with the least amount of money at the end of each day will be voted off.

This year we are playing for The Arc of Livingston.  Its mission is to assist families and individuals with developmental disabilities in our community by providing support, information and advocacy. The Arc is truly a grassroots organization that helps individuals with disabilities become more independent. If you’re interested in learning more about the Arc, here is the link to its website. http://www.arclivingston.org/

Senior Survivor is wildly popular at Howell High School, and all of our challenges and our interviews are condensed into daily episodes which run on a continuous stream all day at school and are posted on the Howell High School website and You Tube for everyone to view. Each of the 12 contestants was given a specific color, and the first immunity challenge (that takes place before the game starts) is to sell the most Senior Survivor t-shirts in that color. For the past week, I have been frantically selling bright yellow t-shirts and have successfully sold over 140. Together, the 12 of us have sold over 1100 shirts. The shirts have generously been provided by J.J. Jinkleheimer, and all proceeds will be donated to the Ark. We will find out who sold the most shirts on the first day of the competition.

Last year, the total amount of money raised for the charity was $6400. The victor, Courtney Schippers, singlehandedly raised about $990 on the final day of the competition to seize the title.

The official game will commence on Sunday, April 22, but I can tell that in reality, it has already started. The competition is already heating up and strategies are already emerging.

If you would like to make a donation to The Arc of Livingston to help me stay on Senior Survivor, please email me at gmontesanti@sbcglobal.net Any donation will help me stay alive in the game and more importantly, it will greatly benefit an amazing organization in our county.