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Warriors for Good: Cedar Rapids alumni reuniting for education fundraiser

Members of the Cedar Rapids Washington High School class of 1980 gather at a house in Breckenridge, Colo., in 2017. Whil
Members of the Cedar Rapids Washington High School class of 1980 gather at a house in Breckenridge, Colo., in 2017. While there, they decided to pool their resources to raise funds for various causes, under the name Warriors for Good. In celebration of their 40th reunion, canceled because of COVID-19, they are livestreaming this year’s fundraiser, and opening it to the public, to benefit programs that defray school activity costs for the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s homeless students. (Warriors for Good)
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What began as a fundraising program for causes championed by the Cedar Rapids Washington High School Class of 1980 is going public this year.

Incorporating the school’s mascot name, Warriors for Good originated in 2017 when 30 classmates and spouses gathered at a house in Breckenridge, Colo. Among their ranks are an orthopedic surgeon, university president, lawyers, architects, designers, a software engineer, teachers and a tennis pro. They live all over the world, from the Midwest to California, Texas, New York, London, Hong Kong and Seoul, South Korea.

“My high school friends are, to this day, my best friends in the world,” said Lynne Davidson, 57, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., who plans the reunions. “It’s just a really great, smart, interesting bunch. And because we have these brainy types, and we have the creative types, and we have the mathy nerdy ones, we’ve got all these different skills. We work really well together and everybody has something to offer. It just works. And we all love each other.”

They decided to pool their resources, and in 2018, raised $50,000 for a program offering health care for pregnant women in Kenya, which Davidson was running at the time. The next year, their efforts supported a research center for CDKL5, a rare genetic deficiency disorder affecting a group member’s daughter.

“It’s a super-accomplished, interesting bunch,” Davidson said. “We were just motivated to do something great, so we started this organization.”

They were looking forward to meeting up with others from their class for their 40th high school reunion this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic flunked those plans. So they decided to go big for their hometown, raising funds online.

Get Together for Education

And since the pandemic was shutting down so many reunions, they decided to reach out to other classes noting milestones. The idea kept snowballing, until they decided to make it an all-district reunion, inviting all alumni from Washington, Jefferson and Kennedy high schools to participate, without changing the umbrella name.

“We think ‘Warriors’ is kinda generic,” Davidson said. “Anybody can be a warrior.”

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The 90-minute fundraiser will be livestreamed, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, with free links on the Warriors for Good Facebook page. Titled “Get Together for Education,” it will be an eclectic mix of music, comedy, celebrity appearances, inspiring stories, photos, video clips from alumni, including film and television actress Terry Farrell (Dax on ”Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and Reggie on “Becker”); Olympic diver Kent Ferguson; and Victoria’s Secret model Alanna Arrington.

An online auction already is online, offering a diamond star pendant, a one-week stay in the Costa Rica rainforest, fine-art photographs, a cooking class for two, and three months of unlimited remote golf instruction.

The event also will feature information about the benefit recipients: the SAFE (Sports, Academic, Fine Arts and Enrichment) Fund and the Homeless Services Fund. Administered by the school district’s foundation, these programs enable economically disadvantaged students to participate in school activities and receive goods and services to help homeless students succeed.

“We all felt pretty strongly about doing something for kids,” Davidson said. “We had learned there were 650 homeless kids in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, and it just tugged at our heartstrings. ...

“My friend group has all been really lucky and we contribute at least part of our good fortune to what we were able to do in high school. None of us was ever worried when went home from school at the end of the day and said, ‘Mom, I want to be on the volleyball team — can I get the sneakers I need for that?’ None of us ever worried that Mom would say, ‘No, we can’t afford the sneakers, therefore you can’t be on the volleyball team.’

“What kind of difference do those things make in our lives? They were a huge part of who we were at the time and they were a huge part of what we became.”

At A Glance

• What: Warriors for Good presents: Get Together for Education

• When: 7 p.m. Thursday

• Where: Livestreaming and registration links at Facebook.com/WarriorsforGood/

• Features: Music, comedy, celebrity appearances, inspiring stories, photos, video clips from Cedar Rapids high school alumni, an online auction and information about the programs being supported

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• Benefits: SAFE (Sports, Academic, Fine Arts and Enrichment) Fund and District Homeless Services Program, both serving economically disadvantaged students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District

• Online auction: Charityauctionstoday.com/auctions/get-together-for-education-13120

Comments: (319) 368-8508; diana.nollen@thegazette.com

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