Instead of just another field day, the students and faculty at Morgan Elementary School participated in Relay Recess, raising money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
“Relay Recess has become a tradition,” Morgan Elementary Principal Wolff explained. He and the faculty chose to promote philanthropy and helping others instead of having just another field day.
The day began with an assembly that changed from a concert to a sing-along. The students then enjoyed a rally where they learned about how the money is used and Relay for Life goals. The students enjoyed the day’s activities and felt good about helping others.
The school was divided with AM Kindergarten and third through fifth grades walking around the track in the morning and PM Kindergarten through second grades walking in the afternoon. The extreme heat of the day slowed the students only a little. Each grade had the opportunity to play games planned by parents in the grassy field.
“I love the parents’ support,” Relay for Life Chair Tara Hammer said. Every year more parents join their students in this charitable event. In its fourth year at Morgan Elementary, Relay Recess brought in a big crowd of moms and younger siblings walking the track.
Preparations for the fundraiser began long before crossing the street to the high school track. Each grade had its own approach to fundraising to aid in the cause.
The kindergarten held a silent auction of a one-of-a-kind quilt pieced together with Morgan Elementary t-shirts and memories. Carrie Carpenter said, “I have wanted to make a T-shirt quilt out of my old shirts for a long time.” She also solicited help from others in creating her innovative quilt for auction. It took an arduous 20 to 24 hours to complete, but she wanted to help where she could. She has felt the devastating effects of cancer more than once.
The first graders were inspired by cookies. As money was donated, paper chocolate chips were added to the decorated cookie in each class. Every class that made their goal of $25 plans to celebrate with a milk and cookies party.
The second graders created a read-a-thon to raise money. They asked parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends to pledge amounts for reading.
Third graders brought in change. Their pennies, quarters and dimes can change the future and help the present. The fourth grade also contributed to the fund.
The fifth grade participated in a penny war where the stakes were high: the losing teacher had to dress like a clown. Students were able to decide which teacher they wanted to save and which they wanted to lose. They placed pennies in the teacher’s jar they wanted to keep safe. The students would place nickels, dimes and quarters in the teacher’s jar that they wanted to see dressed in clown attire. The cents were added with penny amounts being positive and silver amounts being negative.
Papa John’s pizza in Riverdale provided pizza parties for the top contributing classes. Those classes were: Mrs. Hammer’s second grade class with $216 in contributions; Mr. Hadlock’s fifth grade class with $197; Mrs. Sommers’ second grade class with $197; and Mrs. Wallers’ fifth grade class with $166. The second grade as a whole earned a total of $550. These classes and others throughout the school worked hard to contribute to such a great cause. The entire elementary school raised over $1,400.
Unfortunately, Morgan Elementary is no stranger to cancer. Four teachers and three students have been affected by the dreaded disease. The school celebrates the lives of these individuals and their battles with cancer. Each survivor received a shirt at the morning assembly and they sang “Happy Birthday” to the group. Celebrating birthdays is a major aspect of the American Cancer Society. They even have a website dedicated to birthdays called morebirthdays.com which states, “We believe every birthday you celebrate is a victory, another year that cancer has not prevailed.”
There are some who lost their battle to cancer and continue to influence Morgan Elementary. One particular soul is Cason Campbell who would be in the fourth grade this year. He has forever made an impact on his classmates and never will fully leave them. They let green balloons float into the sky to remember their friend. They have kept this tradition for years. The rest of the school let purple balloons go to raise hope and awareness.
Relay Recess is held in conjunction with Relay for Life. Morgan County is known for its large support of Relay for Life with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life in Morgan is held annually during the second weekend in August. This year’s event will begin August 9 at 6 p.m. and with the theme that cancer never sleeps, goes until 6 a.m. August 10. There is still time to sign up for a team or volunteer at the event. Contact Tara Hammer at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (801) 845-5252.