Atlantic Community Raises Support for Shenandoah

The Trojans are supporting the Mustangs during their time of grief.


Lillian Stufflebeam

Steele McLaren and his family present the check to the Shenandoah athletic director. All the fundraisers made over $4,500.

Taliya James

Atlantic students showed up and supported the Shenandoah community who is grieving the loss of a student. Grace Johnson, a senior who attended Shenandoah High School, passed away on August 23, 2021, as a result of a car accident.

Johnson’s passing came to principal Heather McKay’s attention during the Trojan vs Glenwood football game. She then sent a message to Daniel Vargason, AHS Fuel sponsor about the accident, hoping the community could come together to give back to Shenandoah, as they were the first to show support at the time of Steele McClaren’s accident. McLaren was injured last October. 

Vargason was eager to support Johnson’s family when hearing about the accident. He said, “The biggest thing is giving support to people. That’s what we do as a small town in Iowa.” He pitched the idea to AHS Fuel and allowed the students to help with the organization. “Our job is to teach kids. If all we teach is our subject matter, we are failing, so we wanna teach the human side as well,” Vargason said. 

Vargason and AHS Fuel came together and designed t-shirts for students to wear at the Shenandoah vs Trojan football game, which occurred on Sept. 10, 2021. Students and the community of Atlantic came together and raised $1,600 in shirt sales. 

At the football game, Shenandoah members were shown an immense amount of support. The stands were filled with Johnson’s favorite color, royal blue, as well as scattered throughout the field. During the game, there were free-will donations, a 50-50 raffle, a gofundme, and a Venmo available for any donations for the Johnson game. By the end of it all, more than $4,500 was raised.

After the first quarter of the game, students and cheerleaders raced over to the Shenandoah student section to present them with a banner, signed by students of AHS, and blue lays for them to wear. 

At halftime, Steele McLaren and his family presented the check to the Shenandoah athletic director.