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Meet Nazareth's "Whiz Kids" Kendall and Cameron Ohrwashel

A 2007 summer vacation project turned these siblings into wish-granters and more.

One mom’s need to have her daughter do something productive during summer vacation has turned into an annual fundraiser – from her garage.

Kendall Ohrwashel said her mother didn’t want her sitting around sun bathing and asking to go to the beach for the three months school was out. It was the summer after seventh grade in 2007 when Kendall and Monique Ohrwashel (a.k.a Mom) came up with the idea of a book sale to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The idea came out of personal experience. When Kendall was in fourth grade, she came down with rheumatic fever and stayed at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. The illness was caused by an undiagnosed strep infection, the girl's mother explained.

“It wasn’t much fun,” Kendall replied.

Since she knows what it is like to have an extended hospital stay, Kendall made fundraising for children and the Make-A-Wish Foundation her mission.

“I wanted to put a smile on their face, even if it’s just for the time being,” Kendall said.

"Whiz Kid" facts: 

  • Name: Kendall Ohrwashel
  • School: 11th grader at 
  • Activities: National Honor Society, yearbook, Make-A-Wish Spirit Link Chain Fundraiser, John Hopkins Center for the Talented Youth
  • Sports: NAHS swim team
  • Community Service: Make-A-Wish Foundation

"Whiz Kid" Accomplishments: 

  • Honors: High Honor and honor roll
  • Awards: Wish Maker Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation; Who’s Who Among Outstanding students in America; Kiwanis Club Award; President’s Volunteer Service Award; Build-A-Bear Huggable Heroes Semi-Finalist; and the Prudential Spirit of Community Award finalist in 2008, local award recipient in 2009, and state-level distinguished finalist in 2010 (presented to her by Sen. Lisa Boscola and State Rep. Joe Emrick).

Kendall's Key to Awesomeness:

“It makes me feel really happy that we are putting a smile on the wish child’s face,” Kendall said, “and also that a lot of other people are being affected and inspired by it as well.”

The average wish costs about $3,400 per family, according to Kendall. The Ohrwashel’s have raised more than $12,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania, Pottsville Regional Office over the last four years.

And by "Ohrwashel’s," we not only mean Kendall and her mom, but also Cameron, Kendall's little brother.

When Cameron became a seventh grader at , he decided he wanted to be more than just a helper. He wanted to be a doer in his own rite, so he created the Make-A-Wish Club at NAMS.

This summer, the siblings are raising money for a 4-year-old girl named Abby in Bethlehem. She has leukemia and Down’s Syndrome. They hope to be able to send Abby and her family on a trip to Disney World, Kendall said.

The trips, according to Monique, help families reconnect and forget about the illness for a little while. Many people think that Make-A-Wish is for terminally ill children, but 80 percent of the children grow to lead full lives, she said.

“I learned that making a difference really gets you emotionally,” Cameron said. “You get to learn a lot about other families and sicknesses.”

 "Whiz Kid" facts: 

  • Name: Cameron Ohrwashel
  • School: 8th grader at Nazareth Area Middle School
  • Activities: Talon Club, concert band, Best Buddies Club, president of the Make-A-Wish Club, leadership committee
  • Sports: NAMS soccer team, community basketball
  • Community Service: Make-A-Wish Foundation

"Whiz Kid" Accomplishments: 

  • Honors: Honor roll
  • Awards: Wish Maker Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation; Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Silver-Level Award

Cameron's Key to Awesomeness:

On May 27, Cameron will take his family's fundraising to whole new level -- with the assistance of a few hundred whistlers.

He is coordinating the Nazareth Area Middle School Whistling World Record Attempt. He hopes to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people whistling simultaneously at one venue. The current record is 329 people, but Cameron thinks there are enough kids in his school to break that record easily.

In addition to getting the middle school and school district to approve the event, Monique explained that Cameron had to ask officials from the community to agree to witness the record-breaking attempt. One of the witnesses will be Alan Siegfried, the Upper Nazareth Township chief of police, among others.

“We needed witnesses from the community, so Guinness wouldn’t have to fly out here from London,” Monique said.

The start time for the event will be 1 p.m., according to the event flier.  Students will begin arriving around 12:30 p.m. at Andrew S. Leh Stadium at NAHS. If it rains, the event will take place inside the NAMS gym.

Since the event occurs the Friday before Memorial Day, the students will whistle “America the Beautiful,” “God Bless America” and “Yankee Doodle” in honor of area veterans.

The will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., June 23 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 24 and 25 at 143 First St., Upper Nazareth Township.

Book donations for the sale can be left at the address listed above. Questions can be sent to Monique at niqueohr@gmail.com.

Gina sperone May 26, 2011 at 06:03 PM
WOW HOW AMAZING. What a BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE!!!! CONGRATULATIONS, at least I can say, I knew them when!!!! Love u guys!!!

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