By MEREDITH GRIFFITH
Special to the Islands’ Sounder
Ten-year-old Keith Light has a $1300 smile. And we’re not talking orthodontics.
That’s how he explains his recent success as winner of this year’s Orcas Island Education Foundation’s Sally Foster fundraising contest. Light raised $1300 through personal sales, but online sales from a website he set up at sallyfoster.com brought his total closer to $2,000.
Light is the all-time individual top seller in the history of OIEF’s participation in the Sally Foster fundraiser. The next runner up in comparable sales is the entire 6th grade class with $1,513. The individual second place student seller was Taj Howe (7th grade), who raised $461.
Asked to share the secret of his success, Light explains, “I know the trick.” He flashes a huge, cheesy grin. “That’s basically my own technique.”
Light is interested in science, especially electronics and the cellular biology of plants. So when he heard that the school’s science budget was low, he wanted to help.
“I think the money helps the school to get things like new science equipment,” he said. “I have to thank all the people who bought from me.”
When Light initially announced his goal to win the contest, his parents were skeptical. His mother, Dawn, said, “I didn’t think there was any way he was going to get to the top level. 150 items! That’s a lot!”
And dad Roy told him, “There’s no way!”
Light completed nine levels of sales goals and was awarded prizes at each level. His prizes include a digital video camera, digital photo frame, and a boom-box for an MP3 Player.
Light, a 5th grader at Orcas Elementary, already has a history of philanthropic entrepreneurship. At four years old he was featured in the Islands’ Sounder for hosting a lemonade stand to support Kaleidoscope. He reached second place in sales for the Sally Foster fundraiser two years ago. Light also plays the drums, attends the AWANA program at his church, and holds a yellow belt in Gojo-ryu karate.
His favorite part of karate?
“We just learned three takedowns this week!” he says.
“I’m very proud of him,” said Dawn. “He’s very motivated.”
The Orcas Island Education Foundation has committed to donate $40,000 to the Orcas school district this year. Light would be glad to know that in the past their assistance has helped to save science classes, including AP Biology and zoology. OIEF funding also supports teacher salaries, arts programs, and many other facets of island education.
“Keith is a rock star,” says Michelle Reed, president of the foundation. “It’s great to see his ambition; obviously he had a goal and he went for it. And he did it with style. His order form was very organized and was a breeze to process.”
Reed adds, “We want to say thank you to our teachers, students and community, everyone who supported the event. We are so happy to have the funds to continue to support an excellent education here on Orcas.”