Students began bringing in money Monday, April 8. They were encouraged to bring in their loose change to support finding a cure for cystic fibrosis through the national foundation. The final coins were counted on Friday, April 12, before a school assembly and banner walk.
Mike Chai, Arnold principal, announced students had raised a grand total of $945.48.
“I can’t believe it. I am so, so proud, but I was not expecting it to be as wonderful as this,” Chai said Friday afternoon. “For them to almost get $1,000 through bringing in change, I could not be more proud.”
He said parents and supporters of the cause also contributed through checks.
“We had students bringing in ten dollar bills, which is a huge thing for some of these students. I am so proud of them,” Chai said. “What I’ve learned is if Arnold is going to do something, we are going to do it 110 percent.”
“The motto of our school is ‘We are the One’ meaning if there is something good happening, we are the ones it is happening [around],” he said. “It just kind of symbolizes who we are as a building. It makes it a fantastic place to be.”
Representatives from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation were present at Friday’s assembly to thank the students and judge the banners. Each class made one banner to spread awareness of cystic fibrosis and support the search for a cure. Classes K-5 added their own flair to the banners through drawings and phrases like, “Cystic Fibrosis, Ain’t No One Got Time For That,” and “It’s not a Fad. It’s a Fact. Just cure it!”
Heather Perry, CFF senior development director, said it was very difficult to narrow down their choice to just one class for K-2 and 3-5. Both Kathy McCraw’s and Jeanette Gregg’s classes received trophies and goody bags as winners for best banners in their grade levels.
Leigh Ellington, CFF event director, was impressed with the students’ generosity.
“I think it is an example of just the purest form of giving back to others. It was so cute hearing them cheer and seeing ‘Walk today and tomorrow’ and ‘Let’s cure Cystic Fibrosis,’” Ellington said. “They probably don’t know someone with cystic fibrosis, and yet they are still willing to do what they can.”
Perry said seeing the students’ happy faces made their job worthwhile.
“We are so appreciative of everybody and all they do. Whether it is one dollar, or a million dollars, it could be that next dollar which gets us to a cure,” Perry said. “We are going to cure cystic fibrosis. It is on the horizon. We see it, and we can celebrate that.”
The money raised was donated to Lee University’s Great Strides walk and 65 Roses 5K held Saturday, April 13.
Vanessa Hammond, Great Strides event co-chair, said Arnold originally began the tradition eight years ago when her son, who has cystic fibrosis, was enrolled.
“When my son was a student here it was a real source of encouragement for him to have students and teachers being involved with it,” Hammond said. “[Arnold Elementary] makes it where it is an accessible experience for the kids. They have [the banner walk] here at the school so they can all experience the event.”
She said the fundraiser and banner walk is a great way for kids to learn about giving back and participating.
Chai said 16 students would be participating in the 65 Roses 5K with P.E. teacher Deb Hart, the following day. Another group of teachers would also participate in the 5K and Great Strides walk.
Hammond expressed her appreciation at the school’s continued support.
“That they would have continued to do this for all these years is wonderful,” Hammond said. “It is great to have their participation.”