Students raise money for classmate who lost relatives in car crashes

HALES CORNERS — Imagine having to deal with the loss of two family members, both on the same day.  That was the tragic reality for high school junior Allyssa Olson, but her fellow students are coming together to show support during a time of need.

At Whitnall High School in Greenfield, hats are not part of the everyday dress code.  But on Friday, May 11th, the rules didn’t apply. In exchange for a minimum $2 donation, students got to wear a hat to show support for Allyssa.

“Allyssa’s been wearing her brother’s hat all week long, kind of as a memory of him,” Senior Colleen Jaskulski said.

Both Allyssa’s mother, Mary Moore, and brother, Thomas Olson, were killed in two separate crashes in West Allis on April 29th.

“I can’t even imagine what she’s going through.  I mean, my family is really close to me and I’m sure the same for her.  To lose two people that were close to her in one night, it just is a tragedy,” Senior Erika Eykmans said.

Allyssa lived with her 22-year-old brother, Thomas.  Blue ribbons were handed out at school represent his favorite color.

“I know she was very close.  The three of them were very close and so this is a really tragic loss for her because it was the three of them,” English teacher and Student Senate advisor Taylor Townsend said.

The school’s Student Senate came up with the idea.  During lunch, close friends, faculty and even those who never met Allyssa wrote words of encouragement.

“I wrote ‘stay strong Allyssa.  You’re in our prayers,’” Eykmans said.

The show of support was even greater.   By Friday afternoon, $1,600 had been raised.

“We’ve had students come up and hand us $20 bills and not ask for any change,” Jaskulski said.

While Allyssa was not there to see the efforts put on by her fellow classmates, the message they want to deliver is that she won’t have to go through this tragic time alone.

“I’ve heard she’s doing as well as she can given the situation and I know she tremendously appreciates all the support she’s been getting here at Whitnall,” Townsend said.

The Whitnall School District will be setting up a direct deposit account for Allyssa.  For now, any outside donations can be dropped off and written out to Whitnall High School with “Allyssa Olson” on the memo.

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