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Brewster students walk for cancer

Ana Anthony/Daily Globe Brewster Elementary students participated in the Relay Recess Thursday as a preliminary event leading up to the Nobles County Relay for Life.

BREWSTER -- As the first school in Nobles County to organize Relay Recess, Brewster Elementary set out to raise as much money as they could within a week to benefit the upcoming Nobles County Relay for Life in June.

As a culmination to their week-long effort, students, teachers and administration members participated in the American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay Recess Thursday at the football field.

Walking around a track lined by luminaria bags made by students, the student body was separated into two groups for two 30-minute mini-relays.

"I think it's a great way for the students to help support this good cause in our community," said principal Ray Hassing.

Hassing, who collaborated with physical education teacher Jeff Drent, coordinated Thursday's event with ACS youth initiatives coordinator Amanda Hegeman.

Students sold purple Relay foot prints to community members for their fundraiser and as of Thursday, collected a total of $726.

"That's not bad at all for a small elementary school to raise that much in a week," said ACS community relations representative, Greg Rossow.

In his opening speech, Rossow informed the students that as an incentive for next year, they will be able to watch either Hassing or Drent take a pie to the face.

"I'm sure that will make them want to reach their goal," he added.

The ACS started youth initiatives as an endeavor this year. The Relay Recess is catered for elementary-aged students while middle school students can participate in Relay Field Day.

"We want to get them started at a young age to be involved in the fight against cancer," Rossow said.

Teachers were given informational material highlighting four points for their students -- the effects of tobacco use, the importance of eating right, physical exercise, and necessary precautions during sun exposure.

"Students have to learn at a young age about making healthy life choices," Rossow explained. "About two-thirds of cancer can be prevented but people need to be aware of what they can do to prevent it."

After the relay, students enjoyed ice-cream, courtesy of the Nobles County Dairy Association.

Students who collected the most money for each age group were recognized --kindergarten through second-grade group high fund raisers were Emma Cooper, Gavin Leighty, and Trevor King, and from the third-through sixth grade category were Misti Dieter, Maddi Ruesch, Zach Golda and Breanna Golda (tied), and Ethan Haberman.

Brewster Elementary is the third school in the southwest Minnesota region to organize Relay Recess. Earlier this year, Winfair Elementary, Windom and Riverside Elementary, Jackson, conducted the relay.