By Megan Kelley
Thousands of students flooded through the doors of Lake Orion High School on Friday and were greeted by dozens of leadership students ready to get everyone excited about their fundraising event “Cell Out.”
“This isn’t just a regular Friday, its ‘Cell Out’ day, a national holiday here at Lake Orion,” Leadership president Jason Donaven said through a megaphone as students came in the front entry.
Donaven and several other leadership students directed incoming students down the line of tables that lined the front hallway where they would — voluntarily — turn over their phones to the Leadership class for the day.
Students would fill out a slip as a Leadership student put their phone safely into an individual bubble wrapped bag and into a bin. Later these phones would be sorted through by their owner’s fourth hour class and be safely returned by the end of the day.
Of the 2,260 students at LOHS, 1,895 students (84 percent) gave up their phones.
Rob Bergquist, co-founder of Cell Phones for Soldiers, came to see the students at Lake Orion in action.
“I wanted to see first hand so we can bring this blueprint to other schools,” Bergquist said.
Bergquist started Cell Phones for Soldiers with his sister, Brittany, when he was just 12 years old after hearing a story about a military member with an $18,000 phone bill.
He and his sister started fundraisers and successfully paid off the military member’s debt, but found that this was a problem for many active military members and in 2004 Cell Phones for Soldiers was born.
Cell Phones for Soldiers now has 4,000 drop off locations where they collect cell phones for recycling. To date, they have recycled 15 million phones and have paid for over 300 million minutes.
The Lake Orion Leadership class has held “Cell Out” to help Cell Phones for Soldiers raise money for active duty military members for five years now.
To donate to Cell Phones for Soldiers, or to find a drop-off location, visit cellphonesforsoldiers.com.