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Rain doesn’t dampen student generosity

Prairie Wind Middle School students, left to right, Chase Belka, Kaylie Kirchenwitz, Grace Kalina and Caden Bormann show the medallions they made in honor of relatives who have fought cancer. The honorees ranged from Bormann’s elementary school librarian to Belka’s great-grandmother. “I wish we could have walked,” said Kalina. Heart of the Lakes Elementary School also held a Relay For Life fundraiser last week. Joe Bowen/FOCUS

While last week’s string of rainy days may have cancelled the walk itself, it did little to dampen the spirits of Prairie Wind Middle School’s Relay For Life participants, or the money they raised to help fight cancer.

Had it not been rainy, students would have taken turns walking around the school’s track, with the goal of having a continuous procession of people walking at once in a symbolic nod to the idea that “cancer never sleeps,” according to the Relay For Life’s website.

“We had the kids think of somebody in their life who’s been affected and walk in memory or honor of them,” said Principal Scott Bjerke, who organized the event.

The idea is to promote cancer awareness and prevention education in schools, he added. And that was still accomplished, even without a relay, with students raising $258 for the cause.

To raise the money, each grade level in the school competed to bring in the most loose pocket change.

“Sixth grade won,” said Bjerke. As he thumped a bucket of change onto his desk, he added, “This is just the pennies.”

The sixth grade brought in $85, said Bjerke, making them eligible for “a little prize,” which he didn’t want to divulge so as to keep it a surprise for the winners.

The school plans to donate half the money to the Perham Relay For Life team, which will be holding its own relay fundraiser in June.

“We want to stay local” with the donations, Bjerke explained.

The other half will be donated to the American Cancer Society.