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4 Southmoreland seniors give up cellphones

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:50 p.m.
Paul Paterra | The Independent-Observer
Southmoreland seniors (from left): Brooke Oldland, Jae Pawlikowsky, Adam Hernley and Ty Kinter gave up their cell phones to raise money for Make-A-Wish.

Four Southmoreland seniors recently made a sacrifice that asked a lot of the teenagers.

But it was done for a good cause.

Ty Kinter, Adam Hernley, Jae Pawlikowsky and Brooke Oldland gave away their cellphones to raise money for Make-A-Wish. This ultimate sacrifice resulted in about $170 being raised.

Teacher Michael Saunders, who locked the phones away in a closet, spurred the effort. He said he made the offer to the entire senior class, but had just the four takers.

“There's a lot of crazy things in my head,” Saunders said. “One year, I cut all my hair off. That was different, This was more fun.”

Saunders and Oldland gave their phones away for 24 hours, while Hernley, Pawlikowsky and Kinter gave their's up for three school days.

“We got a sheet in history class asking if we wanted to give up our phones for Make-A-Wish.” Oldland recalled. “(I felt) of course I'd be a part of it.”

Make-A-Wish grants wishes for children afflicted with life-threatening diseases.

Saunders said the charity is near to his heart.

“Make-A-Wish is important to me because I have a niece who benefited from this,” Saunders said. “She's now 19 (years old). She's a miracle baby really.”

The students received pledges from family and friends to raise money in their phone-less efforts.

Oldand, who said she's had a cellphone since about sixth grade, did say it was tough initially because of the dependency so many have on their phones, especially when it comes to texting.

“It was worth it,” she said. “It was for a good cause. I'd give it up again.”

Pawlikowsky said it was “easy” to give up the phone.

“I just thought it was a really good cause,” she said. “It's just a cellphone. It was hard at first. I would feel it vibrate in my pocket, and it wasn't in my pocket. I was going crazy a little bit, but in the end it's worth it, because you're helping others.”

“Mr. Saunders brought it up and it seemed like a good idea,” Hernley added. “It raised money for a good cause. That's what it's all about.”

Hernley did admit that it was tough at first to be without that means of communication, since he said he like many youths depends on the phone “probably more than we should.”

“It was definitely different,” he said. “I wasn't used to (not having it).”

Kinter liked his first opportunity to raise money for Make-A-Wish.

“It was kind of cool to switch it up,” Kinter said. “It wasn't hard for me, because I don't text a whole lot. I did, every once in a while, do the three-pocket pat down, looking for my wallet, my keys and my phone. All of a sudden I started freaking out because my phone wasn't there.”

The group did admit to slightly missing out on some of the things their classmates were discussing.

“When you're friends would talk to you and say, ‘Hey, did you see that?'” Pawlikowsky said. “We (would respond), ‘No, I did not. Thank you for rubbing it in.'”

Saunders was proud of these students.

“I like when kids are recognized for doing something positive and that's what these kids did,” he said. “Maybe next year it will grow. I prefer to use this as a beginning and a learning experience. I believe that it will be a better result next year. I am an optimist.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or