On Monday Greenwood students were $3,000 shy of their goal to raise $4,000 in memory of a very special teacher. And yesterday they were $900 within reach of it thanks in large part to a veterinarian.
The student council, comprised of fifth and sixth graders, together with sixth grade teacher Cheryl Stacy, have mounted the Pasta for Pennies benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on Wednesday.
This year’s drive, which ends Friday, is a tribute to first grade teacher Mrs. Denise Walker, who organized the program 15 years ago and died earlier this year.
“This is an amazing community, and Mrs. Walker was an amazing woman. She had great courage and was one of a kind. So we are hoping to reach our goal,” said Stacy.
Veterinarian Barbara Korry, who cared for Gabby, Mrs.Walker’s female 10-year-old Border Collie mix, presented the students with a check for $1,000 on Wednesday.
“Mrs. Walker was kind and sweet and she loved her students so much,” said Korry, who presented the check to student council treasurer Gianna Cirella. Korry was accompanied by staffers from Cowesett Animal Hospital.
About half the students on the 15-member student council had been taught by Mrs. Walker, according to Principal Dennis Winn.
“She was a life-changer. The kids whom she taught left her class believing they could do anything. They were treated with love and respect and the belief that they were special,” said Winn.
The student council began in September after Stacy requested Winn’s approval to form the group, who are elected by their fellow students.
“We wanted to give the students a voice throughout the year. They give up their recess and lunchtime to attend meetings about what we can do to help our school and the members of the Greenwood community,” said Stacy.
Last year, the student council raised money to buy Thanksgiving baskets for needy school families.
At Christmas, the students created and sold reindeer magnets. With the money raised from sales of the crafts, the council adopted two families, for whom they purchased Christmas gifts.
On Valentine’s Day, the entire school created more than 300 greeting cards for residents of a Warwick nursing home.
Stacy said the students wanted to honor Mrs. Walker by continuing the fundraiser this year.
“People want to be able to do what they can for this good cause. It’s great to have people come in and say they knew Mrs. Walker and loved her and want to help. The students feel so proud. We want the students to think about how they can help the community. This is going to set a precedent that they can make a difference,” said Stacy.
Winn did not hesitate to approve Stacy’s request to form the student council.
“It was a tremendous idea. This is a great way for the students to learn to take responsibility,” said Winn.
The drive is called Pasta for Pennies, as the class that raises the most funds will be treated to a dinner by Olive Garden.