Oconomowoc DECA Gives BIG with Adopt-a-School Event

Emma Audley  │Oconomowoc High School DECA  │Co-President of Adopt a School



My name is Emma Audley, and I am the Co-President of Adopt a School. This year, we delivered over 450 presents, and around 300 pounds of Hygiene supplies to George Washington Carver Academy. 45 students helped plan the event and 95 students attended.   

Oconomowoc High School DECA hosted its annual Adopt-a-School event on December 19th, 2017. For the past 11 years, Oconomowoc DECA takes Christmas to a school, typically in Milwaukee Public Schools, with 95% of students receiving free and reduced lunch.

Oconomowoc DECA organizes two huge community service projects each year, one of which is Adopt-a-School. This year, the school we chose to adopt was George Washington Carver Academy in Milwaukee’s Brewers Hill neighborhood.

There are two people in charge of Adopt-a-School every year. This year, it was Emily Kehl and me. We are in charge of planning the whole event! To start, each teacher at the adopted school helps each child to complete a wish list. Then each classroom is given 2 or 3 ‘Room Leaders’ who are OHS DECA Members. These OHS students are in charge of making sure every child gets a gift. We distribute the children’s wish lists on ‘adoption days’ at Oconomowoc High School where students, teachers and community members come in and ‘adopt’ a child! These adopters then buy their child items from their wish list. Younger children are given a hat, gloves, toys, book, underwear and socks. Older kids are given a hat, gloves, book, and $10 gift card to a place of their choosing.

The school, having 434 students in K3-8th grades, was the largest school we have ever adopted. Within 2 days, every single child was adopted! Also, we were fortunate enough to partner with one of our middle schools, Silver Lake Intermediate School. Silver Lake hosted a hygiene supply drive which resulted in over 300 pounds of hygiene supplies being donated to George Washington Carver Academy. With the amount collected at Silver Lake, the children were allowed to “slime” three staff members!


Emily Kehl- “Adopt-a-School is my favorite experience by far that I have had in high school. It is amazing when you see all the kids’ smiles as they open their gifts. They are so appreciative of the gifts and get excited over everything they get, even underwear and socks! Last year we even had a couple teachers in tears saying how much of an impact we have made on these kids’ lives. That impact is the thing that pushes me through the hard couple months of co-planning this big event. This event is just so amazing and I am blessed to have been apart of it for three years now.”