By Isabella Daley
Several juniors and seniors spent their Friday lunches during Lent creating blankets for a raffle to support theology teacher Sam Roflow and his wife Denise.
The blanket making project began when students and teachers were searching for ways to use blankets they began making on the junior girls’ retreat. They decided to continue creating blankets and sell raffle tickets in order to donate the money to help Roflow pay for his wife’s medical bills.
“I was inspired to start this project simply because of all the wonderful things Mr. Roflow does for us. It seemed like a fun, easy thing I could do to begin to thank him and his family,” junior Georgia Cheek said.
Denise has been suffering from neurological issues that cause her to need therapy and at-home care while Roflow is teaching at McNick. Students who bought and sold raffle tickets said they want to alleviate the burden of the expenses resulting from Denise’s care.
“I hope the money will help [Roflow’s] wife to get the treatment she needs,” senior Grace Turner said. “I want them to have comfort and relief.”
The students created nine blankets and sold tickets for $2 each. They sold over 80 tickets during lunches and more online, raising $1,285.00 with the help of several donations. Cheek, freshman Aimee Gauger, sophomore Alex Hagenbarth, history teacher Katherine Hayes, theology teacher John Norman, math teacher Kendra Lonnemann, and alumni Rob Minardi, Michelle Semancik, and Jess Woebkenberg won blankets when their names were drawn on Wednesday, March 28.
Turner, who bought a ticket for the raffle, said that she entered the raffle with a focus on supporting the Roflows and making a donation rather than trying to win a blanket. “It’d be cool to win the blanket, but I think moreover it’s like helping someone in my family.”
The students who made the blankets said they were happy to help the Roflows in any way they could, and they emphasized how much Roflow has done for them during their time at McNick. They spent about five weeks working on a project that became meaningful to them and helped create a stronger sense of community.
Senior Janie Ferris said she saw making blankets as “a Lenten promise type of thing” and that she enjoyed having a way “to show that we care and we want to help [the Roflows].”
“It was nice to spend time making blankets and talking with people. It impacted all who put [the blankets] together,” Ferris said.
The blanket-makers also wanted Roflow to be just as impacted by their actions as they had been by his. “I want this project to impact the Roflows in a way that lets them know how much they mean to this school,” Cheek said.
“He’s impacted me by helping me to form my morals. He’s shown me service opportunities which I found more of myself through,” Ferris said.
“[Roflow] has done so much for McNick that donating money is the least we can do for [him],” Turner said.
Just as Roflow has supported the students and faculty at McNick, students, teachers, alumni, and members of the community donated to a GoFundMe for the Roflows when Denise’s medical needs began to increase last year. McNick teachers currently assist the Roflows with a meal train, and they keep the Roflows in their prayers.
The students hope that the money they raised will help make life easier for the Roflows, but above all, they wanted the Roflows to know how much they appreciate and care about them.
“I hope that Mr. Roflow and his family can begin to understand how much they have been in our thoughts and prayers,” Cheek said.