The student mission statement for Allen Elementary for 2009-2010 - “Good,
With sheer determination and a detailed
better, best ¬- never let it rest, `til your good is better and your better is the best” – is meant to be inspiring.
It’s a challenge the students took to heart in a recent whirlwind fundraising effort that began when Allen Assistant Principal Cari Buehler challenged the students to raise $500 for the ACS.
Buehler, a cheerleading coach, serves as the emcee for the annual Cheer for a Cure Competition, a fundraising event held in memory of the late Stella Bertz, who coached cheerleading in the Genoa district for more than 10. She succumbed to cancer in 2003.
In late October, Buehler formed an adult cheerleading squad comprised of fellow cheerleading coaches from Genoa and Woodmore and some friends. Their goal was twofold - to get in shape and to raise funds for the ACS at a performance at the Genoa-Woodmore basketball game Feb. 16. The money they raised would be presented to the Cancer Society before the squad competed at the Cheer for a Cure event Saturday Feb. 20.
“My 300 elementary students got wind that their principal was jumping, tumbling and cheering for a good cause and wanted to see this cheerleading routine,” Buehler said. “I shared with a few of my students that if they were willing to rally together and raise $500 dollars for ACS, I would do my best to get the adult squad to come to school for an assembly, at which we would perform.”
Fourth-grade teacher John Gruber and his students took on the mission of making the cheer performance happen.
The students thought Buehler’s goal of $500 was good, but they decided that raising $2,000 would be better.
So they made a plan. They determined that each classroom would need to raise $150 in order to reach the building goal and they made tracking devices for each room to note their progress.
To further gauge their success, the fourth-graders made a large thermometer for the main hallway for students and parents monitor the total dollars collected each day.
“They also created large pink ribbons to be hung on the classroom door for every $10 dollars collected,” Buehler said. “A gold ribbon was hung the class reached their goal of $150.”
For added motivation, every student who made a donation received a personalized ribbon to be hung on his or her desk. “The ribbons will be collected and hung at the Cheer for a Cure Competition for all to see,” Buehler said.
Any student who donated $5 or more was given a gold “Comets for a Cure” rubber bracelet - gold, because that is the color for childhood cancer awareness.
And thanks to a donation from Rayz Café in downtown Genoa, the five students who donated the most will receive a limo ride and lunch with Buehler.
Daily announcements were made sharing childhood cancer facts, giving updates on the top three classroom and individual donations, and sharing grade-level total amounts collected.
“These students daily collected, counted and kept track of all donations, down to the penny,” Buehler said. “The stories that were shared from students as to why they donated their Christmas and birthday money, made bookmarks and baked goods to sell, wrote letters and made phone calls to earn money for ACS brought tears to my eyes.
“The staff and students at Allen Elementary were on a mission to make a difference for those who are/or have been affected by cancer,” Buehler said.
And without a doubt they gave it their absolute best. By the end of the sixth day of the eight-day effort, the students had raised a whopping $6,700.
Buehler said she thinks the students will be pleasantly surprised by the grand total, which will be announced, along with the names of the top five student collectors, during a school assembly Feb. 12 at 2:30 p.m. (Students in the running for the top five include Brenna Nye, Sam Partin, Katie Gruic, Dylan Grosjean, Hunter Simmons, Brody Helle, Arian Hayes, Caleb Johnson, Doug Bergman and Caleb Jerew.)
The assembly will be attended by representatives from the ACS, along with co-founders of Cheer for a Cure, as well as Buehler’s adult cheer squad, the high school and biddy cheerleaders.
With sheer determination and a detailed plan, Allen Elementary fourth-graders set out raise $1,000 for the American Cancer Society. By the sixth day of the eight-day effort, the students had collected $6,700. The final tally will be announced at a school assembly Feb. 12. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)