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Pies and pennies: Prairie students raise more than $7,000 for youths battling cancer

WORTHINGTON -- Prairie Elementary students got a special sweet treat Friday. More than 80 "pies" were whipped up in celebration of the elementary students' month-long effort to raise money for adolescents battling blood cancer. The pies weren't f...

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Prairie Elementary third-grader Ariana Cazares is given the honor of putting a pie to the face of Assistant Principal Cory Van Briesen on Friday while Assistant principal Cathy Mrla cleans her glasses. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Prairie Elementary students got a special sweet treat Friday.

More than 80 “pies” were whipped up in celebration of the elementary students’ month-long effort to raise money for adolescents battling blood cancer.

The pies weren’t for eating, though.

Selected at random, students got to pie their teachers in the face and celebrate collaboratively raising $7,230.47 during the annual schoolwide Pennies for Patients fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

With a $6,000 total goal, the kids again rallied together to surpass that goal.

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“I’m amazed how much money they bring in,” said Jayme Wiertzema, Prairie Elementary art teacher and K-Kids co-advisor.

Sponsored by the K-Kids, the annual Pennies for Patients fundraiser is also a friendly competition among the school’s 54 general education classrooms.

Of the 54 classrooms, 39 raised more than $100, five raised more than $200 and one class raised more than $300.

The top four fundraising classrooms will get an additional party. The top four classes were: Kelli Stenzel’s third grade, first; Larisa Berglund’s third grade, second; Heather Hibbing’s first grade, third; and Tearrany Nelson’s first grade; fourth.

While the elementary students are excited about the competition and the pie day, there's more to the Pennies for Patients fundraiser, Wiertzema said.

“The whole point is to understand why they’re bringing in money,” she said. “We’re trying to teach them to help other people.”

Throughout the four-week fundraiser, kids learned who would receive help from their donations and received money counting lessons by featuring a different coin a week.

At the end of the fundraising campaign, members of the Early Risers Kiwanis Club helped take the change to First State Bank Southwest, where all the coins were counted.

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Wiertzema added that Sanford Worthington also helped in the fundraising efforts by donating the whipped cream for the pies.

Prairie Elementary Principal Heidi Meyer called Friday’s pie celebration a powerful way to end one of the year’s highlights.

“It is so powerful to be able to take the opportunity to gather our entire school together,” Meyer said. “The energy in the gym is amazing. It’s a tradition the kids look forward to every year.”

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Prairie Elementary students celebrate raising more than $7,000 during its month-long Pennies for Patients fundraiser for kids with blood cancer. Pictured with students is Prairie Elementary Principal Heidi Meyer (back, from left), Assistant Principal Cathy Mrla, K-Kids co-advisers Jayme Wiertzema and Kelli Stenzel and Assistant Principal Cory VanBriesen. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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