Not only does the Golden Throne give Clarkston and Lewiston students a yearly excuse to pack the Activity Center and cheer like maniacs, it also gives them a chance to raise money for charity.
For the last 16 years, students at both high schools have sold "spirit links" – which are small paper rings – for 25 cents apiece during the week of the basketball games. The schools combined to raise more than $9,000 during last month’s Golden Throne week.
Recently, both schools' student leaders gathered at the LHS library to present $2,250 to each of these four charities: Tina's Hope for a Cure, which raises money for cystinosis research; Habitat for Humanity; the LHS Pantry, which provides needy students with food; and Invest in Ed, which provides needy Clarkston students with food, clothes and school supplies.
“That’s who wins, really, is the charities,” said Jim Silvestri, who is the ASB adviser at Lewiston. “The competition is good, but the charities are the ones who win.”
The Golden Throne was first held in 1994, but the charity drive didn’t start until ’98. Since then, the schools have raised more than $100,000. The largest one-year total was $12,663 in 2008, according to records kept by Clarkston ASB adviser Kay Andersen.
“I don’t know how they raise that much money in just five days,” Andersen said.
Most of the links are purchased by students – the schools don’t solicit donations from businesses – and the charities are always local.
The students selling the links, “walk around after lunch and ask for people’s leftover lunch money,” Andersen said. “One kid told me, ‘My parents told me that if I save my loose change in a jar that when Golden Throne came, they would match it.’ So she brought in twice as much because her folks said they would match it.”
Andersen said that the schools are planning to put an application online that charities can fill out and submit, so the students can be better informed when they pick which charity they want to donate to.
“I got to be one of the people that started this thing about 20 years ago,” Andersen said, “and it’s been amazing to see it develop – absolutely amazing.”