By LIBBY CLUETT
STRAWN – Strawn ISD students raised funds for the United Way of Palo Pinto County, inching the countywide non-profit organization closer to its 2012 goal of raising $110,000.
The school of 192 students had a week-long fundraiser, collecting $664.63 through the participation of students in all grades, pre-kindergarten through 12th.
The fundraiser took place during the school’s recognition of Red Ribbon Week – a national drug prevention campaign – for which a committee of teachers planned and organized activities for students.
“This is our second year in what I hope will be an annual fund-raising event to coincide with Red Ribbon Week,” said Tamara Alison, a third-grade teacher at Strawn who organized the fundraising effort.
The proceeds came through purchasing paper chain links in Strawn colors – red, white and black. The links cost 25 cents for one or five for a dollar, and the classes competed to build the longest paper chain, she explained.
Each morning, students put their donations in a “United Way” cup, placed in each classroom. The cups were turned in and the money counted daily, which enabled class teams to add to their paper chain.
“The red, white, and black paper chains hung from the ceiling in the cafeteria and were added to each night to reflect the day’s giving,” said Alison. “It was exciting each morning to see how long the chains had grown and which class was in the lead.”
At halftime during the Oct. 26 home football game against Rising Star, Strawn students stretched out their respective paper chains along the field to see which one was the longest.
Winning the competition by inches was the sixth grade team, according to Alison. The seventh-eighth grade team took second in what she called “a very tight race” and the fifth grade chain was the third longest.
All totaled, the Strawn School chains equalled 783 feet, or 261 yards, Alison said, “More than enough to score two touchdowns on our six-man football field.”
Several students weighed in on the competitive fundraiser.
“That was incredible,” noted sophomore Jessica Braun. “I didn’t think we’d get as much as we did.”
To fourth grader Briaunna Garza, the fundraiser “was kind of challenging and exciting, but we still knew we were helping others, too.”
“It’s not about winning, it’s about helping someone else,” said third grader Bella Gallozzi. “So, if we all do the best we can and it helps someone else, then we’re all winners.”
“It feels good (to give) and I’m thankful I can do it,” first grader Hayden Nowak shared.
“That’s a lot of money, especially for kids and we just had one week to do it,” sixth grader Tanner Hodgkins said of the $664.63 students raised.
At the home game against Rising Star, Alison presented the cash and coins to United Way Executive Director Karen Bullock.
“The United Way has been a vital organization in so many of the communities where I have lived and worked through the years and I wanted to add the experience of giving to others to the focus of our Red Ribbon Week festivities,” said Alison. “It is such an important thing for kids to feel empowered and to know that there is always something they can do to make a difference, even the smallest things add up and can mean so much to someone in need.”
By LIBBY CLUETT
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