KW Students and Faculty Celebrate Rodstock 2013

by Taylor Viydo, 
The spirit of the 60's was well and alive at Kelly Walsh High School on Thursday. Students, teachers, and even a few alumni took part in an all day music and art festival known as "Rodstock." 
The all day event was started by Rod Mahaffey, a former Kelly Walsh teacher and noted hippie who really enjoyed the 60's. "He used to do this in his classroom where his students would be able to come in and listen to him play music," says KW history teacher Ben Schanck. "It was a day of being able to express yourself through song." 
That so-called "day of expression" has now evolved into one of KW's biggest fundraisers of the year. Schanck says the first "Rodstock" only drew about a handful of students and raised just $300 for the Make a Wish Foundtation. Fast forward some years later, and "Rodstock" was drawing in hundreds of students and thousands of dollars. "Rodstock 2012" brought in $9,000 and organizers for this year hoped to more than double the amount. As of Thursday afternoon, the event had raised more than $10,000.
According to Schanck, students are basically able to "buy their way" out of class. Teachers set minimum fundraising goals for their classes. If those goals are met, students are able to take part in supervised hookey and watch all that is "Rodstock" in the KW auditorium. 
Anyone affiliated with Kelly Walsh can perform at Rodstock regardless of musical style or talent. KW Juniors Keegan Beamer and Austin Wilcox performed a comedic folk song by Flight of the Conchords in front of their peers. "I think it's really moving, actually that [students] can find a way to get out of their comfort zone and have fun," said Wilcox.  
"I love to see all the talented people at our school perform," added "Rodstock" organizer and KW senior Julie Schmitt. "I think it's cool that a lot of kids at our school don't know how talented some of the kids at [KW] are." 
"Rodstock" does so much more than just showcase Kelly Walsh's music scene, though. It helps change the lives of sick children suffering from terminal illnesses. Before "Rodstock," the school had already raised enough money to grant the wish of one child sponsored by the school. All of the money raised on Thursday will go towards other Make a Wish children in Wyoming.

"Knowing that [students] have the opportunity to help that kid feel like they're not sick for a day or a week, and to have their biggest dream come what helps fuel the fire here," said Schanck.