By Jeanne Sager
GRAHAMSVILLE May 14, 2002 Getting 298 youngsters together to all work on one project is a tough job raising $3,000 is even harder.
But when the Student Council at Tri-Valley Intermediate School decided to hold a Diabetes Walk this month, their classmates soon signed on to the project. Their goal was $3,000, but by the end of the day, the students had raised a whopping $13,257.
We called the American Diabetes Association, and they were thrilled, said fourth grade teacher Jason Semo, advisor to the council. It was one of the biggest totals in the Northeast theyve ever had.
We were proud of the big accomplishment for fourth through sixth graders.
The students went home to ask moms, dads and grandparents for pledges to make the walk around the track at the high school during Fridays half-day of school.
They were instructed only to approach family and friends and explain they were raising money for diabetes a disease of the pancreas which has touched the lives of many of the students on campus.
According to Diana Grey, nurse for grades four through 12, there are at least six children district-wide who receive insulin shots daily or use an insulin pump to control their blood sugar.
Other students have family members or friends with the disease.
Esti Ross, president of the Student Council, even has an uncle who has suffered for years with diabetes.
I know how hard it is for him, she noted. He has to take insulin shots everyday.
The Student Council does projects annually to help the community, especially with health-related issues.
But this year, Ross explained, they wanted to do something that could incorporate a lot of people.
We thought this would not only bring our school together, but help others, she said.
Bob Carle, principal of the intermediate school, said that in his six years with the district, the youngsters have sent money to the Red Cross and to fund leukemia research.
This is a fun activity thats gotten the whole school involved, not just the Student Council, Carle noted.
Semo said this was a way to touch the students lives affected by diabetes those with the disease as well as those who have come in contact with diabetics.
We wanted to do something that would touch as many lives as possible, he noted.
It also helped raise awareness among the children about what their classmates go through daily.
According to Grey, exercise is encouraged among diabetics to help them keep their blood sugar down.
Grey walked with some of the diabetic children to gauge their reaction and make sure they were managing the activity well.
But in all, she said, the teachers are attempting to make sure the children feel normal and adjusted.
Its hard for a kid, she said. But you want them to feel as normal as possible, especially in this age group.
Youngsters marched around the track Friday morning, listening to music and enjoying the sunshine.
Because the school was letting out early, students got permission from the administration to spend two hours, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., outdoors raising money.
Games were set up in the middle of the field for those who wanted to take a break from walking, and water was readily available for the youngsters who got tuckered out.