McKinley Raises Funds to Honor Student’s Life

Eighth grader Jenny Aguilar died of liver failure two weeks ago.

She was everything you wanted in a student, said McKinley School Assistant Principal Jennifer Knopf.

“She was amazing,” Knopf said of eighth grader Jenny Aguilar. “Bright, sweet, smart, a nice friend and the neatest kid.”

Even when she was bed-ridden in the hospital, Aguilar summoned up the strength to complete her homework. Two teachers would alternate bringing her assignments, and she completed them on time.

But on Jan. 17, Aguilar's liver failed her, the result of pneumonia.

Rather than let her death consume the campus, students, teachers and administrators rallied to preserve her memory and provide emotional and financial support to Aguilar’s family.

A few days after her death, the school hosted a fundraiser selling snacks like Cheetos and popcorn after school. Though most items were priced at $3, generous buyers would give a $20 bill and refuse change.

“The kids really took it on and organized it,” Knopf said. “Then it took on a life of its own.”

The fundraiser wasn’t exclusive to McKinley students. students also walked over to donate to the cause.

“I love when schools work together to help each other!” said Sarah Blatner, a mother of a North Star student.

The fundraiser raised $1,600, and donations keep coming in.

This money will help Aguilar’s family pay for the medical bills, as well as all the time that Aguilar’s parents had to take off to be with their daughter in the hospital.

Aguilar’s presence will last beyond individual fundraisers. The school plans to plant a tree surrounded by pink - her favorite color - flowers along with a plaque to honor her life.  

Donations can be mailed to McKinley School, 400 Duane St., Redwood City, CA 94062  Re: “We love Jenny foundation.”


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Sarah January 31, 2012 at 05:48 PM
So, I am pretty embarrassed to be quoted in this article but if it gets any of my friends to donate to this cause, then it is worth it. The story is that on a Friday a couple weeks ago, I drive up to school to get Eric at 3:00 pm. Traffic is usually pretty cleared out by then. That day traffic was horrible and Eric is no where in sight and I'm sitting there cursing under my breath. Finally about 5-10 minutes later, he comes out and says "Mom, I just bought two bags of Doritos and donated $8". I say what is the donation for. He tells me about this girl from McKinley who died from liver failure and they were raising money for her parents. With tears in my eyes because I am so proud of him and sad for her, I hand him a $20 and tell him to go back and give it to them. He said he didn't want to do that as he didn't want to wait in the HUGE line again. I said "I think if you walk up to the table and hand them a $20, they will take it and you won't have to wait in line". He did and as we were finally driving past, I see how long the line is. There are McKinley kids and North Star kids all waiting patiently to help this girl's family. Jenny's friends were standing in front of the school holding signs. It was all pretty magical to see these kids all supporting this girl and her family. Jenny was Eric's age and it breaks my heart that this happened to her. So, if you have an extra $5, $10 or $20 that you could send to McKinley in memory of Jenny, I would be grateful.


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