Lewisburg boy thanks students

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Leukemia patient Carl Holden, 5, of Lewisburg enjoyed a trip to Walt Disney World in April thanks to Shelbyville Central High School students and was presented a rolling backpack featuring characters from "Cars."

SHELBYVILLE - Leukemia patient Carl Holden, 5, of Lewisburg appeared at Shelbyville Central High School last week so his family could thank the students and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee for giving him a trip to Walt Disney World in April.

The school assembly on Friday also included a surprise announcement for the next beneficiary of the school's Make-A-Wish fund-raising. An 11-year-old Bedford County girl who's in remission from treatment for lung disease and leukemia will be meting Taylor Swift at the Country Music Association Music Festival next month.

Meanwhile, Carl's grandmother, Becky Black, thanked students for their support, and Carl was presented with a rolling backpack featuring the characters from the animated movie "Cars." Carl has chemotherapy once a month and must undergo a spinal tap every three months. He was delighted by the attention, yelling nonsense syllables into the microphone, dancing around as the students roared their approval, and wandering off on occasion.

Again this year, SCHS students topped all other high schools in Tennessee when it came to raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"I wish we had about 20 Shelbyville Central High Schools in my service area," said Patricia Ledford of the foundation's Middle Tennessee chapter. "You all set the example."

SCHS has been raising money for Make-A-Wish for the past three years, and with great enthusiasm. But it's Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee which identifies the needs and brings them to the school's attention, and the previous children - all of them deserving - were from outside. This year was special; this year, not only is the recipient local, but she's the daughter of an SCHS faculty member.

Korley Davis, 11, daughter of SCHS teacher Becky Davis, is in remission from treatment for lung disease and leukemia. She has been approved for a double lung transplant and is waiting for the call to go to Pittsburgh to receive it.

Oh, and she wants to meet Taylor Swift.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, with the help of the $17,000 raised this year by SCHS students, is about to give Korley a summer she won't soon forget. As Korley entered the SCHS gymnasium on Friday, thinking that her mother had dragged her along to some boring school assembly, the entire student body, right on cue, yelled at the top of their lungs:


Korley will be a VIP at the CMA Music Festival next month in Nashville, where she will have a four-day pass, a room at a top hotel, breakfast with singer Josh Turner, a tour of country stars' homes, and, last but definitely not least, some face time with the Grammy-winning singer.

In preparation, SCHS student council president Bailee Martin dressed as Swift and posed for photos with Korley.

Becky Davis took the microphone to speak for her daughter.

"I just want to say, thank you very much," said Becky Davis. "I can't tell you what it means to me as a parent."

The money was raised by students through the "Mr. Wishful" contest. Two boys from each grade were nominated for a fund-raising competition, with each selecting a girl from his class to act as campaign manager.

Assistant Principal Rheaetta Wilson closed the ceremony by congratulating the students for their generosity and urging them to take it with them into adulthood.