SALEM — Christmas is a time of brightly wrapped presents, warm nights by the fire, spreading good cheer and music. This past Christmas, two high school students raised money for a cause dear to their hearts by sharing music from Christmas past and present.

Alyssa Walsh and Betsy Cletus, seniors at Blanchet High School here, organized and hosted a new fundraiser called “Oh Holy Night,” a benefit concert for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Every year, students of Blanchet are required to be a part of or create a service project in the community in order to graduate.
Before the event, Alyssa and Betsy went around to local businesses in the Salem area to seek sponsors. They raised more than $1,000 that way.

On the day of the event, the girls spent the entire day, with the help of other students and faculty, decorating the school’s theater with red and green, while also directing around 30 performers through staging and sound checks for a two-hour show. Alyssa and Betsy were performers too. The got students ranging in age from 10-18 and a pair of teachers to perform Christmas classics “Silent Night,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Christmas Time Is Here,” among others. The benefit raised almost $2,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Alyssa’s six-year-old cousin David in Pennsylvania has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic form of the disease that predominately shows up in younger boys. This fundraiser gave her a platform to spread the word about her cousin and what he deals with every day.

David, and his mother Michelle, for the past two years have been a part of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Dallas Team Momentum, a fundraising program through marathons and other races around the country. Last year, Michelle was honored as top fundraiser and top team fundraiser with $2,127 and $9,828 respectively.