When West Jordan High School students get mad, they really get MAD (Making A Difference). Each winter, they choose a charity to help out as part of their Mad Jags program. At a schoolwide assembly on Nov. 25, the student body officers presented this year’s selected charity.
“Every year over the winter, we do different activities and different fundraisers to help charities and this year, it’s the Tyler Robinson Foundation,” Sophomore Vice President Rylee Lewis said. “We do a basketball tournament; we go door to door asking if we can do odd jobs. We try to do anything to get money.”
The kick-off assembly featured student talent, from the dance company to the orchestra, and everything in between. The students watched a video presentation about Tyler Robinson’s story, which included a video shout out directly to the Jaguars from Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons.
When he was 16 years old, Tyler Robinson was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of connective tissues that had spread to his lymph nodes and through his body. He had 20 rounds of chemotherapy during his junior and senior years of high school, but eventually succumbed and died on March 4, 2013.
Tyler was an avid fan of Imagine Dragons. When he attended a concert in October 2011, the band dedicated a song to him and a longer-than-lifetime friendship was formed.
“Someone contacted me and informed me that Tyler had passed. It was at that moment that I felt like this was not the end of Tyler. His life would continue; his legacy would continue. People needed to be inspired by him in the way that we were inspired by him,” Reynolds said in a YouTube video explaining how the foundation came about.
He contacted the Robinson family and asked if they could join forces in creating a foundation in Tyler’s honor to help other families facing the battles of childhood cancer.
West Jordan students cheered as the foundation was introduced to them.
“We’re just introducing the students to the charity and getting them involved so it becomes more personal for them,” Lewis said.
During the month of December, students will earn and collect money for the foundation.
“It’s my favorite time of the year. Not just because it’s Christmas, but because I get to have a bonding experience with the whole school,” Student Body Vice President Alex Bybee said. “It’s just the most amazing thing; one of the most wonderful experiences we’ll ever have.”