Caring in national spotlightStudents at Four Corners Elementary School are about to receive national attention.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Students at Four Corners Elementary School are about to receive national attention.
The school is one of two in the nation to be put in the national spotlight for their achievements for the American Cancer Society.
“I want to get rid of cancer and I don’t want anyone else to have it,” said Blake Bachand, 9.
One of his friends and teammates on the Gull’s hockey team has a mother who survived cancer, he said.
The Four Corners third grader put that goal ahead presents when he turned 9 this year to raise money for the Relay Recess to be held at the school today. Blake raised about $820 — more than his entire class’ goal for this year — in part, by forgoing gifts for donations for the American Cancer Society during his birthday party at the Superior Amateur Hockey Association.
A three-team hockey player, Blake said despite giving up birthday presents this year, his mom still managed to surprise him by inviting national champion University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs players Kyle Schmidt, Jack Connolly, Mike Seidel and game-winning scorer Ken Reiter to skate with Blake and his friends.
But Blake didn’t rely on the party alone to raise money for the American Cancer Society. He tapped his dad’s business associates and his parents in his effort to raise money.
“I wanted to raise a lot of money for the cancer society,” Blake said. “My mom said if I get my spelling test right my dad would give me $200 or $100, and I got this one test right and my dad gave me $200.”
“Blake is just one example of the quality of our kids and families,” said Principal Patti Lindelof. “They’re very caring and everyone tries to help.
Several of those creative efforts — a bake sale hosted by Rita Hill and her son Branden Kennedy, a rummage sale at the Superior Town Hall, a craft and bake sale sponsored by the third grade classes, and a sock hop added nearly $2,000 to the school’s efforts this year, said Parent Coordinator Ellen Chicka.
Last year, the first year the school participated in the Mini Relay, students raised more than $2,700. This year’s goal is $3,500, but had raised $6,269.28 by Thursday morning.
Students will again set up luminaries and walk around the school’s baseball field — closely mimicking the Douglas County Relay for Life planned for July 8 and 9.
“The students really made an effort this year to think outside the box and think of ways to up the amount we raised last year,” Chicka said.
During this year’s opening ceremony, which begins at 12:30 p.m. today at Four Corners, 4465 E. County Road B, Superintendant Janna Stevens will talk to the students about her own experience as a breast cancer survivor, Chicka said.
Along with a variety of fun events planned during the 1½-hour walk concludes with Lindelof, who is retiring at the end of the year, facing off with the teacher of the class that raises the most money in Sumo wrestling; followed by a match between the teachers whose classes raise the second and third largest amounts, Chicka said.
“We know that cancer affects every family in some way, and many of our young students have had their lives touched,” Lindelof said. “The empathy and life lessons learned through this school, community project shows children the power of working together toward common goal.”
This year, the students’ relay will be captured by a video crew for a special video to promote the American Cancer Society’s Relay Recess concept.
Because of its achievements, Four Corners was one of two schools to be highlighted in a special video being produced by the national home office of the American Cancer Society, in connection with the Society’s Relay Recess program, said Joni Tauzell of the American Cancer Society in Duluth.
The video will help educate students nationwide about health, cancer, and how they can help in the fight against cancer.
After all, the Relay for Life is about more than raising money — it’s about raising awareness, Tauzell said.
Tauzell said she recommended Four Corners for the role because of the “phenomenal” effort students put forth last year raising money through a relay that closely mirrored the big relay.
“They have done an absolutely incredible job,” Tauzell said.
“We’re so proud of our kids,” Lindelof said.
To learn more about the American Cancer Society, call (800) 227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.