TROY, Mich. (WXYZ) — More than $117,000 was raised by high school students over the course of a weeks' worth of activities. The total was revealed Friday at a pep assembly in front of students, staff and the organization set to benefit.
“It was overwhelming, it was powerful,” said Tyler Bettelon, a former Troy Athens student and founder of the organization Alex's Saints. The organization was chosen as this year's charity.
Alex’s Saints was founded in May of 2020, shortly after Bettelon's friend and fellow Athens graduate Alex St. Pierre died of an overdose.
The organization helps young adults battling addiction access rehab by lessening the financial burden with the goal of making their journey to long-term recovery as smooth as possible.
“Alex and I graduated here from Athens in 2013. We were best friends and we walked these halls together. And charity week was always the best week, we always looked forward to,” Bettelon said. "He’d be proud."
Over the years, charity week has become a staple among the student body. For five days, students raise money from a variety of events during and after school. However, some events were limited this year due to COVID-19.
“We actually didn't have a goal this year because of COVID," senior and Student Council President Lilly Chrisopoulos said. "We knew that our numbers would be different, especially after having a peak last year. Anything was amazing, especially with this charity. We know this number is going to help them so much.”
Even with the obstacles, students and staff still managed to raise a six-figure total, using Alex as inspiration.
“This one was really close to home," Athens teacher and Student Council Co-Advisor Dina Chrisopoulos said. "Alex was a former student, he’s also my neighbor.”
As students celebrated the final total, Alex’s family was there watching, knowing this emotional effort was for their son who was also there watching too.
“To see a number like that come up, it’s incredible what the kids here do,” Alex's father John St. Pierre said. "He put so much into it back in the day, all four years he was here. And to have it to be for him and his foundation, it’s incredible. It really is.”