A Magical Morning


Used with permission from Sydney Goncalves

Captivating Crew. DECA members arrive early to A Magical Morning to prepare for the upcoming families. Julia Bradley and Sarah MacAllaster planned for months as volunteers gathered supplies, bought costumes, and created decorations.

Sadie Rawlings, Co-Associate Editor

As the Frozen soundtrack played softly in the background, little Jedis and princesses walked through the cafeteria doors at Piney Grove Middle School as volunteers dressed in various character costumes greeted them. South Forsyth High School’s DECA chapter had its second annual JDRF fundraiser on November 2nd, “A Magical Morning,” which featured character meet-ups and a pancake breakfast.  

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) seeks to provide funds and research in order to fight type one diabetes (T1D). With thousands of volunteers all over the nation, JDRF raises awareness and support for those with T1D. 

T1D is an autoimmune disorder in which the body unintentionally destroys insulin-making cells; therefore, the body fails to produce insulin or produces only small amounts of it. Without insulin, bodies can’t convert sugar into usable energy in the body. TD1 victims take regular insulin shots.

The cause of T1D is unknown; however, there are several triggers that contribute to the presence of the disease. Those with a history of type 1 diabetes in their family have a higher risk of developing the disease themselves. There are also environmental triggers like a viral infection which can influence the disease. TD1 can manifest itself at any age, but most cases appear in early childhood and adolescence.

With over 75 JDRF chapters nationwide, volunteers and TD1 victims join together to raise money and awareness for diabetes. The organization provides opportunities for volunteers to select a pre-planned fundraising event or create a new event–as such in South’s case with A Magical Morning.

Ronit Ganguly, a senior, and the Georgia DECA Executive commented on the chapter’s decision to support JDRF: “My team and I were tasked with finding a charitable cause to raise money for the year on behalf of Georgia DECA. I did not hesitate to choose the Juveline Diabetes Research Foundation, a foundation that is very close to my heart and millions of others living with type one diabetes. I was diagnosed with type one diabetes in 8th grade, and it has changed my life forever, without the help of JDRF, I would not be living the healthy life I live today. JDRF helps millions of families living with type one diabetes and leads the effort of finding a potential cure for type one diabetes. With the help of Georgia DECA, we have set a goal of raising $22,000 for JDRF and are excited to see how many lives we will change with our help.”

As the atmosphere transported families into a whole new world, colorful posters and banners hung on the walls. The children and parents visited Neverland to fight Captain Hook or traveled to Laser Land as Luke and Leia greeted them with lightsabers. DECA members With interactive games placed around the cafeteria, such as a laser maze, pin the crown on the princess, and the Captain Hook ring toss, kids had an endless number of activities to participate in. 

“I loved seeing the kids get so excited to see their favorite characters, especially when they were dressed the same,” said junior Madison Fiorentino.

Parents could also choose to upgrade their ticket for a princess makeover. For an additional five dollars, DECA members styled the little girls’ hair and applied makeup to transform them into royalty. With numerous swipes of blue eyeshadow, glitter hairspray and braids, the girls walked confidently up to the princesses to meet them and take pictures. 

Face painting and crafts littered the room; princess Jasmine and Moana helped kids make their very own royal crown, and other volunteers painted rainbows and butterflies on their cheeks. Volunteers were kind and courteous to the children as they helped run activities as well as take photos with some of the kids. After the crafts, the music turned up louder, and volunteers created a dancefloor in the center of the cafeteria. Each princess danced and sang with the kids, as they exchanged crazy dance moves.

Junior Julia Bradley, the DECA community service officer, commented, “Magical Morning was a success, and according to the survey we sent out, the responses said the best part of the event was the interaction between the kids and characters.”

On one corner of the room, DECA members served families a pancake breakfast complete with syrup and apple juice, so after parents and kids visited with each character, they enjoyed a family breakfast together.


Through the work of volunteers, the second annual “Magical Morning” was a success. Both parents and children, along with friends and families enjoyed the interaction with the character dress-up. Ultimately, the goal of South’s DECA chapter was to raise money for JDRF and provide a little spark of magic.