The first-ever Cookies and Cocoa 5k had over 250 participants of all ages take part in raising money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  Photo – Kerri Leland

This past January 25, Buford High School (BHS) Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) hosted the Cookies and Cocoa 5K to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). At the beginning of the school year, the CTSO students partnered with UGA Miracle, a philanthropic student-run organization at the University of Georgia, whose mission is to raise money for CHOA. BHS students have raised over $12,000 so far this school year with other fundraising events planned. 

“Every day, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta relies on the generosity of the surrounding community to care for the more than 400,000 patients they treat annually. Events like Buford High School’s Cookies & Cocoa 5k are so important because they offer each participating individual the opportunity to make an incredible difference in the lives of sick and injured kids across the state and southeast,” Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation’s Program Coordinator, Avery Fiveash, said.  “I was truly blown away by the support and leadership of the Buford High School students as they executed a very successful event!”

Buford City Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Downs and his wife Melissa were happy to take part in the first annual 5k benefiting CHOA.  Photo – Kerri Leland

Though this was the first 5K the CTSO students organized, over 250 runners were involved in the event which raised more than $8,000. 

“I am so thankful for the support of Buford High School! The Buford community was well represented at the Cookies and Cocoa 5K,” stated Cole Williams, UGA Miracle’s High School Outreach Co-chair and Executive Board Member. “They are truly making miracles happen for the kids at Children’s and are doing such great things! The students involved themselves in such activities to gain not only volunteer hours but a worldly experience working in support of the children in these organizations. They become more open in terms of the perception of their society, being grateful for what they have, and developing an open mind and heart.”

Melanie Reed, BCS Assistant Superintendent and her husband Greg put on their running shoes to support the cause.  Photo – Kerri Leland

Julia Lanza, UGA Miracle’s High School Outreach Co-Chair Assistant Program Director, remarked, “Growing up my high school did not have a UGA miracle program and being able to see a community rally around their high school the way Buford has for this cause is amazing. These students go above and beyond and they don’t even know how much of an impact they are really making. I cannot wait to see what they can do in the future.” It is always important to look out for others and these students continuously show their involvement. High school students often have a lot going for them such as curriculum, GPA, extracurricular activities, and so much more. So it is often a wonderful thing for any community seeing its students immersing themselves into outside activities. 

Callie McBride, UGA Miracle’s High School Outreach Co-Chair, and Executive Board Member added, “UGA Miracle has been a highlight of my college career and has given me some of the best opportunities these past few years. The Buford High School students and teachers are absolutely incredible and I am blown away by their impact on this hospital and the families that are a part of it.”

“Working with Buford High School students through UGA Miracle has been one of the highlights of my college career, UGA Miracle’s High School Outreach Assistant Chair Program Director,” Emma Noble, said. “It is so exciting to see what these amazing students can do and to see the unbelievable community support for not only the students but our wonderful hospitals!” For students who are interested in the medical field, volunteering for this organization can help develop their decisions on a future career in medicine as well as get an insight into helping people. All of this while gaining some service hours for their diploma. Even for students not interested in the medical field, learning about the sick and injured could help expand a student’s knowledge of the conditions they are raising money to help assist. 

Jacob Schauer, UGA Miracle’s High School Outreach Assistant Chairman shared, “I am seriously in awe that this is Buford’s first year! They have gone above and beyond for us and, more importantly, the kids! I just want to thank all of them for their hard work and we look forward to many more years partnering with them!” 

All in all, Buford High School students have proven themselves in their community to be diligent, dedicated, and dynamic young individuals who have developed a beautiful sense of community cooperation. With many more events like this one in the near distant future, it is for certain that the BHS students can always be counted upon.

— By Anoshka Ramkumar


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