Seven hundred and twenty-three children, from kindergarten to fifth grade, proved that kids can do big things, especially when working together. The students of Morgan Elementary School came together with a common goal of earning money for the American Cancer Society through a fun day called Relay Recess. The school raised over $2,030. This is a huge accomplishment. Now in its fifth year at Morgan Elementary, the event is gaining momentum. As the money came rolling in, Tara Hammer was very pleased with this year’s results. I was so happy, said Hammer, who has organized the event since the beginning. That was more than I had anticipated. The school was divided into two separate groups. The kindergarten through second grade decided to have a friendly competition. Hammer’s second grade class won, which came as no big surprise seeing how seriously she takes Relay Recess. Her students have caught her vision of raising money to help fight cancer. In the third through fifth grade the competition was tight with Mrs. Netz’s fourth grade class bringing in $201.98 and fifth grade teacher Mrs. Waller’s class donating $202. Netz’s class nearly won the highest total brought in by any class among these grades, but since her class had the highest total of pennies in the fourth grade, that made her the loser of the penny wars. In the end, Netz was the winner/loser and came dressed as a clown the next day. The day was filled with a variety of activities to teach the children about being healthy and helping others. The event began with an assembly where the teachers and students who are cancer survivors were celebrated. Mr. Curfew and Mrs. Pratt, along with student Gage Adams, each received a shirt they could wear throughout the day as a token of their victory. Melanie Kieffer, a speech therapist at the elementary school, presented a skit that talked about all of the good things the students are doing. She helped the students understand what will happen with all of the money they raised. To end the assembly, the Morgan High School cheerleaders got the students pumped up with a little pep rally. The excitement lasted throughout the day. In the morning the higher grades hit the track and walked for an hour and the lower grades walked in the afternoon. This not only showed support for the cause, but it was a fun healthy activity. Each grade had a chance to play games on the field. They ranged from hula hoop to tag games. One unique game Mr. Fowles’ third grade class played involved a blind fold, counting and several unlucky students receiving a mouthful of baby food. The children seemed to be all smiles whether running the track with their friends or playing games with their classmates. The students had time to play after their hard work. They had been encouraged to earn the money instead of simply asking for money. Dante and Andre Johnson brought in $10. They earned the money by digging out all of the dandelions in their yard. Even after all that strenuous work, they wanted to donate the money instead of keeping it for themselves. For them to want to donate that was really sweet, Hammer said. Several lemonade stands were held around the area to earn money. Some kids gathered together to sell tulips. Others did chores around the house to earn the money. The students showed selflessness and compassion as they worked to help others. That’s my big goal, is that kids see they can make a difference and help people, Hammer explained. When they weren’t out walking the track, the students were able to go through different classes. The EMTs taught the students about how to stay safe as well as allowed the kids to walk through an ambulance. School Nurse Nadine Bambrough had a fun activity for kids to learn about eating healthy and how to keep their bodies healthy and strong. The end of the day wrapped up as it has every year by releasing balloons. Hammer had asked the children to each think of someone who has been affected by cancer. She told them to think about that person when they let go of the balloons. While there are some students who wouldn’t know anyone personally, unfortunately there were many who feel close to the effects of cancer. One student announced she was thinking of her young cousin who is in preschool and dealing with cancer. Many of the students thought of classmates who had family members who were going through this terrible ordeal. The fifth grade thought of a classmate, Cason Campbell, who lost the battle four years ago. They have released green balloons, Cason’s favorite colo,r each year while the rest of the school released purple. Lincoln went above and beyond in his support of his friend Logan Foster, whose mother is fighting cancer. He donned himself with pink, which is not typically his favorite color, but he says it is Charese Foster’s color and stands for breast cancer. He even sported a pink bandana. This is not the only visual support Logan received that day. His entire class wore shirts showing its support by creating a team. Support Relay for Life on August 8 by creating a team or supporting the silent auction and booths. Big donations or little donations, everything helps. For more information visit RelayForLife.org/MorganUt.
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