Clearwater surpasses Pennies for Patients goal

Teacher Tracy Hartmann is shown having her head shaved, one of the incentives for the students to reach their Pennies for Patients fundraising goal. (Submitted photo)
Teacher Tracy Hartmann is shown having her head shaved, one of the incentives for the students to reach their Pennies for Patients fundraising goal. (Submitted photo)

With making and achieving goals being a prevalent theme at Clearwater Middle School in Waconia this year, it’s only fitting that Clearwater students were able to shatter their goal of raising $12,000 for the Pennies for Patients fundraiser in 2013.
In January and February, Clearwater students in grades 5-8 raised money in their homerooms for Pennies for Patients, a national fundraiser through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
LLS funds research around the world, creating opportunities for blood cancer cures and therapies, and provides free information and support services.
Clearwater students raised $15,086.61 for the effort, which may have hit a little closer to home in recent times as they’ve witnessed several classmates, including Brettly Stulc and Tate Maurer, face cancer.
According to teacher Kristin Dyrhaug, who was in charge of the fundraiser, this is the fourth year Clearwater has raised money for Pennies for Patients. In the first year, the students raised more than $8,000 and in each of the past two years, they raised more than $11,000.
“I thought the fundraiser went amazingly well,” Dyrhaug said. “We surpassed our goal of $12,000! I am so proud of all of the students.”
During the fundraiser, homerooms competed for prizes that included a Domino’s pizza party, a doughnut party, and a Hawaiian shaved ice party.
Dyrhaug noted other aspects of the campaign, including a milk jug decorating contest, where each homeroom decorated a milk jug and displayed it at conferences for parents to vote for their favorite milk jug; a hat day where students could wear a hat to school for $1; best seat in the house at lunch where students purchased raffle tickets for $1 for a chance to win a pizza party at lunch with three of their friends; popcorn Fridays ($1 for a bag of popcorn at lunch); a community night at Pizza Ranch, where 10 percent of the night’s profits went to the campaign as student council members helped out at the restaurant; delay the day (teachers could not start their class until all the money brought in that day was counted); and teacher incentives (four teachers dressed up as their favorite characters, three teachers danced “Gangnam Style” at lunch, four teachers slept on the school roof, and seventh grade math teacher Tracy Hartmann shaved her head).
Hartmann’s head was shaved in front of the student body during the school’s Wacky/Laugh Olympics, which was held on Thursday, March 7.
“I’m happy to do this because a lot of kids who go through cancer treatment don’t have a choice to lose their hair but they choose to have a positive attitude — that’s the lesson,” she said. “None of us can choose our circumstances but we can choose how we handle them.”
A large check representing the school’s efforts was presented during the olympics event to Maurer, Stulc and Hartmann. Stulc, who enjoyed seeing Hartmann get her  hair cut and watching the teachers dance during lunch, thought it was pretty nice that the school came together to support LLS.
“I’m glad my story helped inspire everyone to donate to Pennies for Patients,” Maurer added. “Maybe they can use this money to find a way to keep other kids from getting cancer. I finished my last round of treatment and I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me!”