With the sound of party horns and the launching of a plethora of confetti, students at Grove High School learned they raised more than $22,000 for Petra's Closet.

In fact, the more than week-long effort, brought in a total of $22,353 for the Grove non-profit which helps provide clothing and other needed items for students living within the Grove School District.

The announcement came on Thursday, March 15, at the close of the second, and now annual COW Week or Changing Our World Week.

Launched during the 2016-17 school year by GHS students, the week is designed to serve as a way to get students - and community members - involved in a single philanthropic effort.

Last year, students raised $13,409 for the Grove Backpack Program.

Beating a goal

This year co-chairmen Luke Hammock and Braden Wadley set a goal publicly to surpass last year's efforts. 

Privately, however, the two young men - as well as the other members of the Grove Student Council - had another goal. 

The pair wanted to provide Petra's Closet with more than $20,000.

As the numbers were revealed, Hammock's eyes filled with tears. 

"It's not what I expected," he said. "It's unbelievable.

"I know the student council puts so much work into this. For a small community, for a bunch of high school kids to raise this much money, it is hard to believe - but not impossible."

Hammock, a senior, has served on the COW Week team for two years - first as a vice-chairman, and now as a co-chairman.

He hopes students who follow in his footsteps will keep the movement going and find a way to exceed this year's total.

"In the future, I hope more people are involved and know about COW Week," Hammock said. "I want COW Week to be the biggest thing Grove has ever seen.

"I know that COW Week truly has the potential to change our world. I want to tell everyone to never stop giving. COW Week is an outlet through which people change our world - and without everyone's support, we would be nothing."

Wadley, his co-chairman, said serving on the COW Week team has helped him discover new aspects within his life.

"People give with an open heart," Wadley said. "A lot of people want to do something, only if they get something in return.

"This has taught me that you don't have to have anything in return. Seeing how happy this makes everyone here, is all the return I need."

Celebrating the news

Jenean Perryman stood amazed, as the students gave her the news of the week's final totals.

"I think this is inspiring this community to be generous," Perryman said. "This is contagious kindness. Everyone wants to jump in and help."

Perryman estimates this will provide funding for up to 150 students for back to school needs in the fall of 2018.

Beyond the funding, Perryman said the promotion of Petra's Closet in Grove helped put the small non-profit into the public eye.

"I think before COW Week we were the best kept secret," Perryman said. "Now we'll be able to help on a larger scale."

COW Week Totals

2017 - $13,409 - Grove Backpack Program

2018 - $22,353 - Petra's Closet