Monday, Jun 24, 2019

Students pie teachers for a cause

Luis Garcia and Principal Mike Shukis 2 copy.jpg
St. Joseph School student Luis Garcia delivers a pie to the face of Principal Mike Shukis March 21 as reward for raising funds for the Children’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. HML PHOTO BY RHONDA MIX

Students at St. Joseph Catholic School recently received a sweet reward when they raised more than $730 in a fundraising project for the Children’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The project was a spinoff of a program called Pennies for Patients, a competition where students compete and collect money to benefit the organization.

In the St. Joseph version of the contest, students collected dollars that they put into specially designated teacher boxes. At the end of the competition, students from several different grades were selected as winners based on the highest number of dollars raised. Each winning student then had the opportunity to throw a pie in a teacher’s face March 21 as a reward.

The winners were Manhatyn Brincks, kindergarten; Miles Brincks, third grade; Aubree Pollet and Mike Prince, fourth grade; Montana Brincks and Adrian Esquivel, fifth grade; Luis Garcia, sixth grade; and Natalia Bennal, seventh grade.

“I’m very proud of the children and staff for supporting [this fundraiser],” Principal Mike Shukis said during an interview before the pie attack. “Students raised the entire amount of money on their own, without assistance from staff.”

Shukis also praised the Children’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“We thought this would be a good program for our students to do,” he said. “They put out a great program and gave us two educational DVDs about cancer for older and younger children.

“The educational videos definitely made an impact,” he said, noting that the Charlie Brown video designated for the younger children was an especially huge hit. “It’s an exceptional DVD, and our first- and second-grade classes were very touched by it.”

Shukis said the school participates in a number of fundraisers throughout the year and has raised money for organizations such as the local food pantry in the past. He explained why he felt it was important to involve St. Joseph’s students in fundraisers.

“We’re trying to live out the gospel, as Christ said, ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me,’” he said. “Our faith is not just something to talk about, our faith needs to do actions.”

When it came to the pie-throwing event, Shukis said a few of the winning students were nervous during the days leading up to it.

“A couple of kids said ‘Are you sure you want me to throw pie?’ Luis, the boy who will be throwing a pie at me, said ‘Are you sure this is going to be OK?’” Shukis said, laughing.

Despite the fact that students may have been apprehensive about tossing pies in their teachers’ faces, nerves did not seem to be present when the big day finally came – at least not for students.

The pupils appeared ecstatic as they gathered in the school cafeteria to watch their peers toss pies at school staff and Shukis. Laughter and excitement filled the air the duration of the event, and it appeared to be a fun, high-energy time for all involved.

However, Shukis also reminded students what the contest initially was about – raising money for children with cancer – and not just throwing pies.

The fact that St. Joseph’s 73 students did such a great job raising money for the Children’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was the sweetest reward of all.