Howell HS seniors raise nearly $56K to train service dogs for veterans

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Following an action packed week, Howell High School’s annual Senior Survivor fundraiser has raised a record-breaking $55,918.31.

Thomas Lassiter was named the winner of Senior Survivor. Lassiter raised more than $5,000. Maggie Mitter came in second place just $120 behind Lassiter. All of the money raised will benefit Stiggy’s Dogs, a Howell-based nonprofit that rescues and trains shelter dogs to be service dogs for veterans living with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Stiggy’s Dogs was founded in memory of Hospital Corpsman Third Class Benjamin (Doc Stiggy) Castiglione, a Howell High School alumnus who gave his life while serving in the armed forces in Afghanistan. Stiggy’s Dogs was chosen as the beneficiary of this year’s Senior Survivor because 2016 would have marked Castiglione’s 10-year high school reunion.

Stiggy 1This year’s Senior Survivor began Sunday, April 24, when 14 Howell High School seniors moved into their school for one week. The students collected donations by day and competed in immunity and reward challenges at night. At the end of each school day, the two Senior Survivor contestants who raised the least amount of money that day were eliminated.

“Senior Survivor week is one of the best traditions of the school year at Howell High School and Howell Public Schools. It is truly wonderful to watch as our school, district and community rally together to support an amazing cause,” said Jason Schrock, Howell High School principal. “Stiggy’s Dogs is a great organization and the fact that our students were able to raise $55,918.31 to support their mission in such a short time is just incredible. Our students’ excitement to fund-raise for and support a nonprofit organization reflects the positive, generous and kindhearted nature of our community.”

With the $55,918.31 raised this year, Senior Survivor has now raised more than $184,000 for various charities since it began in 2008. In 2008, students raised $5,000 for the Mackenzie Watts Scholarship Fund. In 2009, they raised $8,535 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2010, $7,488 was raised for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. In 2011, students raised $5,759 for The Connection Youth Services. In 2012, $13,375 was raised for ARC of Livingston. In 2013, $20,229 was split between the Zac Cain Foundation and the National Alliance on Mental Illness and in 2014 $27,000 was raised for The Rainbow Connection. Last year, $41, 215 was raised for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan.

To learn more about Stiggy’s Dogs or make a donation to the organization, please visit

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