Fundraiser organized for Duit’s father

The music between classes at AHS normally stays the same from day-to-day, so many students were delighted by the switch to German music last week. After hearing the reason for the switch, students and staff at AHS rallied in support for one of their own. The new music in the hallways has been part of a fundraiser for Duane Duit, father of AHS teacher Dave Duit. Duane was recently diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma known as mantle cell, which occurs in about one in every 25 lymphoma patients. After receiving the news, the Duit family came together to make their father’s lifelong dream, a trip to Germany, come true. “He loves Germany: the food, the music, just the whole culture,” Duit said about his father. This summer is likely the last time that Duane, 73, will be in good enough physical condition to make the trip to Germany. Despite the diagnosis, Duit says his father is still in high spirits. Those spirits would soar if Duane were able to make the trek to Germany this summer. In addition to his general interest in the country, bloodlines also draw Duane to Germany. The northern town of Emdem is home to the gravesites of Duit ancestors and the residence of some of his living relatives. Burdened with the cost of chemotherapy, the Duit family knew outside aid would be needed to cover the expenses for a trip for two to Germany. Duit sought support from the high school because of its record for supporting its staff. He first went to administrators to discuss a possible fundraiser for his father. They decided it would be best to involve a student club in the project, and asked Student Council for help. The group used previous fundraising experience to finalize project plans. For the past week and a half, second period teachers have been collecting donations for Duane Duit’s summer trip to Germany. To remind students of the fundraiser, music by the German band The Wahlberg Boys has been playing in the hallways between classes. Duit hoped to raise anywhere from $500 to $3,000 through the fundraiser, but remained realistic when thinking of the outcome. “I won’t be disappointed if we don’t make it,” he said. “I understand there are many things at the school that need money.” Students have latched on to the fundraising idea. “Mr. Duit’s a good man doing a good thing,” senior Paul Zunkel said. “I hope he makes it.” “I think the fundraiser is a good thing,” sophomore Jessica Nehls said. “You’ve got to live for today and go for your dreams in the time you have.” Students and staff donated a total of $672.41, and a plan B is also in the works. The Wahlberg Boys, Duane’s favorite band, frequently play at German festivals in Texas. This plan may be easier to reach financially, but Duit’s wish is to send his father to Germany. “It’s always been his life dream to go over there.”