Kelsey Givens / Pahrump Valley Times - Jason Odegard, principal of Floyd Elementary School, and Shannon Moore, a making strides recruiter with the American Cancer Society, pose with the trophy and popsicles Floyd students won for raising $674 for the American Cancer Society in Pahrump’s first ever Relay Recess event Oct. 7 through Oct. 11.
A friendly competition between two local elementary schools helped students raise more than $1,100 for the American Cancer Society in October.
Floyd and Manse elementary schools competed in Pahrump’s first annual Relay Recess event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society Oct. 7 through Oct. 11. The schools competed in daily penny wars to raise money for the fight against cancer and participated in a collection of spirit activities to raise awareness for the cause as well.
Floyd Elementary took first place in the competition raising a total of $674 and was rewarded with a large, purple trophy Friday to commemorate the win. Both schools, however, beat their goal to raise more than $500 each with Manse Elementary finishing the competition with a total of $508 raised for the American Cancer Society.
To reward them for their accomplishments, both Floyd and Manse received popsicle parties for their fundraising efforts.
Shannon Moore, a making strides recruiter with the American Cancer Society and organizer of the event, said the students seemed to enjoy the activities.
“The kids were excited each morning to hear which school was in the lead! Kids would come into the office with bags full of coins, we had several students bring in their piggy banks from home and give all of their savings,” she said in an email about Relay Recess.
Moore said one little boy was so excited to help his school raise money for the American Cancer Society, he brought in his broken piggy bank to donate his own money he had saved, which in his excitement to get to school he dropped on his kitchen floor.
Although the event helped students raise money for the cancer society, it was also designed to educate the children about cancer and cancer prevention.
“Although raising funds to fight cancer is incredibly important, Relay Recess is about so much more than that. It is about education and prevention. The American Cancer Society provides age appropriate information, work sheets, and fun activities to schools to help educate students on how to prevent cancer. The four areas of focus are healthy eating, physical activity, the use of sunscreen, and tobacco use. The goal is to give the students information to avoid getting cancer so these types of events don’t exist in the future,” Moore said.
Throughout the week the students were encouraged to wear purple to show their relay spirit, and on the last day of the event were asked to wear superhero gear for the Relay Recess walk that Friday.
“During the pep rally the students were given before they walked, it was explained to them why we asked them to wear something superhero: Because they are all superheroes in the fight against cancer. The money they raise will go to fight cancer in their community and all around the world. It is important for our kids to know that even though they are young, they can have a huge impact on their community and the world around them. They have the power to help others and be a good citizen,” Moore explained.
As the children walked laps around a track during their Oct. 11 recess, they were given a string to hold onto, and for each lap they completed they received a bead to put on that string to show everyone else how many laps they had walked in the fight against cancer.
“Many students could not wait to proudly show off their necklaces. Some students even ran laps to have the most beads. We had a lot of parents that showed up to walk with their students and made necklaces too. It was clear that fighting cancer was very important to some of the parents who came out to walk with us,” Moore said.
Jason Odegard, principal of Floyd Elementary School, said he was proud of the enthusiasm his students showed throughout the Relay Recess week.
“I think it means a lot for our kids to be able to participate in a community event, it shows them that it’s important to be a part of their community and to care for others in their community. A lot of the kids talked about people they knew that had cancer, so I think it was a very appropriate event,” he said. “I was proud of the kids for participating, they didn’t do it begrudgingly, they did it willingly and wanted to be active in it, so it was good to see they were getting into a community event.”
Kyle Lindberg, principal of Manse Elementary School, said although his school didn’t finish first this year, he was very proud of what his students accomplished and the fact that they were able to beat their fundraising goal while actively engaging in a community driven event.
“The kids blew my expectations away,” he said. “I was little, not concerned, but hesitant about competing against Floyd, but I think we gave them a massive run for their money. I think our kids and staff did an excellent job.”
The Manse Elementary School principal added one of the best parts about the Relay Recess event was it allowed parents to get involved alongside their students and gave the children a chance to hear from people who have been touched by cancer, so they can connect the disease to a human face.
“It brings it to a personal level so they can start to understand this disease and see that it affects people in our own community, people we know,” Lindberg said. “We’re looking forward to taking on the challenge again next year and to top what we were able to accomplish this year.”
Floyd and Manse are reportedly the first two schools in the state of Nevada to host this event. The American Cancer Society hosts approximately 1,000 Relay Recess events across the nation each year.
Moore said she hopes to have more Pahrump schools involved in Relay Recess in the future.
Lindberg said his school has already pledged to participate in the event again next year. He said the school hopes to build upon the success they were able to achieve this year as they take on the competition a second time.
Odegard said his school is also looking forward to taking part in Relay Recess again next year as well.
The American Cancer Society is currently looking for parents, teachers and staff to help them create committees for the next Relay Recess event in Pahrump.
Those wishing to help put together a Relay Recess week at their school can contact Moore at 775-910-1552 for more information.