Chugiak, Eagle River students go WACKO
Schools raise money for local organizations
Dressed as Superman, senior Elliott Amundson and junior Jake Granado, dressed as The Incredible Hulk, taunt one another during Chugiak High’s annual WACKO event Friday, Feb. 10.
STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NESPER
For two hours Friday, Feb. 10, the area’s two local high schools put education on hold and competed in a series of challenges that tested strength, speed…and the ability to unfold and put on a frozen T-shirt.
The annual Wild And Crazy Kid’s Olympics (WACKO), which pits each class and the faculty against one another, is held every February to help pass Alaska’s cold, dark months.
“It’s a great morale booster to get the kids through the winter doldrums,” said Eagle River student council advisor Tom Klaameyer. “It’s just big fun.”
WACKO is a great way to blow off steam, Eagle River senior Paulette Mordini said.
“In the middle of winter, it’s nice to go crazy,” Mordini said. “It’s always exciting.”
Thanks to Mother Nature, WACKO student organizers scrambled to have everything ready by Friday. Icy road conditions led to classes being canceled at Chugiak and Eagle River the day before the event.
“We didn’t even know if we’d get all the decorations up,” said Mordini, a member of student government.
Students worked until 10 p.m. Thursday to ensure everything was ready by morning, and ERHS student body president Lauren Chun said the decorations were the best they’ve been in her four years of participating.
“Considering that we lost a day of planning, it’s going really well,” Chun said.
“It was pretty hectic, but I’m glad it came together,” she said.
Chugiak shared Eagle River’s experience.
Students stayed at the school Thursday until midnight decorating the gym for the event, Chugiak student council advisor Lisa Reed said.
“It is always incredibly stressful,” Reed said. “But the kids love it so much it’s worth it.”
Chun, who missed out on the fun in order to serve as WACKO commissioner, echoed Reed’s words.
“Instead of losing my voice screaming, I lose my voice explaining directions,” Chun said. “The whole school enjoys it. It’s worth it.”
This year’s theme at Chugiak was Marvel comics and Eagle River’s was board games.
WACKO isn’t just for the students.
“The faculty is incredibly competitive,” said Reed, who was wearing a WACKO shirt with the years Chugiak’s faculty won the competition printed on it.
Both schools also held coin drives to raise money for local organizations. Called “penny wars,” each class earned one point for every penny dropped into their jug. Students can add silver coins and/or paper bills to other jugs to make rival classes lose points.
Chugiak raised $1,960 for Alaska’s chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Chugiak already raised more than $700 for Make-A-Wish thanks to its teacher talent show Jan. 13.
Eagle River’s coin drive raised more than $1,000 for The Children’s Hospital at Providence. The school also donated $2 of every ticket sold from its WACKO dance Feb. 11 to buy board games for children at the hospital. That effort netted $460.
The Wild And Crazy Kid’s Olympics, which started at Chugiak in 1978, is a tradition the entire school looks forward to every year, said CHS student body president Mina Sayer.
“Everybody gets really into WACKO,” she said. “It’s fun to see everyone’s school spirit.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org