A special gift

Gray Hughes

It takes a special community to do something special for someone in need, and that’s just what members of the ninth grade at Hill City High School did.

Cody Groven was walking out of church one day when he saw his former teacher’s aide, Pam Fowler, getting into her van.

“It was pretty beat up,” Groven said. “I asked her if all the doors worked, and she said, ‘Nah. The back doors don’t open, and it’s really not doing good. We got new parts for it, but we don’t know how to put them on.’”

So Groven went home and started researching vans, stumbling across a used Chrysler Pacifica van.

Groven and roughly a dozen other freshmen from his estimates, worked together to raise money to get the van. The boys worked odd jobs and were able to purchase the van for Fowler. The process took four weeks, Groven said, from the beginning of October to raise the just over $4,000 to buy the van.

On Nov. 6 after school, Groven, along with many students from Hill City High School, presented Fowler with the van along with a check for $500.

“I don’t even know where to start,” Fowler said, when asked about what this means to her. “I have doors that open. It’s overwhelming.”

Fowler said she was speechless and had no idea this was happening.

“We have an awesome community,” she said. “We have great kids.”

Via email a couple of days later, Fowler said Hill City has long been known as the “Heart of the Hills.” Many think it’s because of the city’s location, she said, but, personally, it is referring to the kids who make up this community.

“I received a giant hug from the students and staff at the Hill City Schools, as well as the community on Friday, Nov. 6,” she wrote. “Thank you so much for your love and support. Thank you for raising kids who put others before themselves and for supporting them. For helping them to accomplish their goals, and showing them what community is all about. I’m proud to be part of our school district and community. Thanks seems like so little for the gift I have been given, please know it is thanks from my heart to all of yours.”

Groven said Fowler holds a special place in his heart and among his fellow ninth graders, saying many of his fellow classmates would not have been able to get to where they are today and where they are going in the future had it not been for her.

“It was pretty neat,” Groven said.

At Monday’s Hill City Common Council meeting, mayor Kathy Skorzewski, who was present on Nov. 6 when the van was presented, took some time to reflect on what the kids had done.

These kids are the future of the community, she said.

“It is a testament to the kids, their parents and the school community that they were able to do something like this,” Skorzewski said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our town.”


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