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Students raise dollars for St. Jude

By Lisa Freeman, Santa Maria Times

850 days ago   Article ID# 1530070
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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

SANTA MARIA, CALIFORNIA (Santa Maria Times) - Linda Daniel’s fifth-grade Language Arts class led a two-month campaign at La Honda Elementary School that raised $521.87 to fight cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

As part of their curriculum, the students read “Mariah Keeps Cool,” Mildred Pitts Walter’s story about young Mariah’s birthday surprise for her sister who works at a homeless shelter: Mariah organizes the party guests to bring donations of clothes or money to help families in transition.

Each of Daniel’s young scholars then created a fundraising flyer for a charity chosen from their teacher’s list: St. Jude got the most votes.

“My students connected with the idea of helping young people who are suffering from cancer. Our original goal was to raise $200,” Daniel said.

It was a lesson well learned for her students.

“We raised money for kids who have cancer because some kids can’t pay for medication,” said Brenda Ornelas.

Empathetic classmate Edith Rodriguez added, “We helped the kids who have cancer because they can’t learn or play outside.”

The talented young scholars created posters and decorated donation cans for each classroom, tutoring room, office, conference room and library. Class representatives Mackensie Langsley and Rebekah Moreno also read related announcements over the school public address system.

Even writing the flyers was a learning experience.

Dru Campbell added: ‘Writing makes me feel I can actually communicate — get out the message.”

Alexis Alvarez said, “Writing makes me feel more confident.”

Sayaima Herrera said, “I don’t really like to speak out loud because sometimes I feel nauseous. When I write, I can express myself.”

Tommy Hornby said, “There’s less pressure writing than talking in front of large groups.”

The students enjoyed the project immensely, said La Honda Administrative Assistant Elizabeth Chavez.

“I enjoy seeing the student’s smiling faces when they came to Principal Gail Hines’ office to empty the donation cans into the big collection jar. They were having fun doing good for the community.”

Hines participated, too, walking the fifth-graders to a local grocery store to cash in their coins and dollars.

Just how much the project touched the students was evident in their comments:

“This project was a big achievement for our class and our school,” said Rebekah’s cousin and classmate Steve Moreno.

Salvador Lemus said, “When we first started the project, I thought it

couldn’t be that big, but when we passed $100, I realized it would be. The purpose is so kids won’t have to die and they can be like us, average kids.”

Dru Campbell added, “They are average kids, just sick.”

First-grade teacher Terry Larson said: “Some of the fifth-graders are my former students, or have younger siblings in my class. We integrated math experience-counting money, pie chart and temperature graphs — with talking about what the money would mean to the kids in St. Jude hospital.

“My students have made sacrifices. The brought their piggy-bank money, snack money and tooth fairy money. We raised $162.61 in our class, so we knew the school would achieve the original goal of $200.”

Fifth-grader Christian Montoya concluded, “This project was to save the lives of the kids with cancer. I would like to thank our teacher, Mrs. Linda Daniel, and all the people who helped us help these kids.”

Daniel’s entire Language and Arts class signed the letter that will accompany the check to St. Jude, and decorated it with hearts, stars and smiley faces.

They said they hope St. Jude will post their letter on a wall in the cancer ward, so the children there can see that they have loving friends here in Lompoc.

Copyright 2014 Santa Maria Times   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 850 days ago   Article ID# 1530070

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