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As part of Fugett Middle School’s “Fugett Changes Council” plan to promote wellness in the students and staff, the Cougars Stomp Cancer 5K was held April 19.
“(The council) tries to improve morale at the school to improve wellness in our students,” said Kerry Montgomery, co-chair of the 5K. “It’s to create a good middle school environment in all aspects — from wellness to bullying and things like that.”
This isn’t the first 5K the school has held, as they did one a couple years ago, but this is the first time Fugett has partnered with Bringing Hope Home, a nonprofit organization which provides financial and emotional support to local families with cancer.
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“We joined a partnership with them,” Montgomery said. “We did fundraising with student leaders — four from each grade. They were the Student Hope Squad. They went to a conference with Bringing Hope Home.”
From that conference, the student leaders learned about how to be leaders and brought that knowledge back to the school to pass along to classmates.
After that, it was time to promote the 5K and start fundraising.
“As of (Sunday), we have raised over $5,000 and we had 240 runners,” Montgomery said.
That number could very well go up in the next couple days.
Bringing Hope Home gives $1,500 grants to families with cancer, so with the total raised so far, the Fugett community can take pride in the fact they’ve already been able to help three families.
“The kids really did come through,” Montgomery said.
What also helped were that the students formed teams and had a friendly competition going to fundraise the most money.
Nancy Barsa took home the honors as the teacher who fundraised the most as John Wileczek was tops for the students.
It’s nice for Montgomery to see the success of Cougars Stomp Cancer since it has been something the school has been working on since it was kicked off in January with a pep rally.
“We did an assembly for the students to let them know all about the organization,” she said.
A teacher, who also happens to be a DJ, came out to keep the community entertained, which also included students from West Chester University.
But the 5K isn’t the end of the fundraising for Bring Hope Home.
Fugett will continue to raise money and because the students and staff were able to raise so much, Bringing Hope Home chose them to be filmed for a lip dub on June 5 as part of its advertisement.
“It’s like a music video which will involve all the students and staff,” Montgomery said. “The film crew will come in and videotape a song as they go around the school building.”
It may be great to see the students rally together to raise money for the organization, but it’s even more special to show the students what they can do, even at their age.
“It’s those forgotten years in middle school where kids don’t think they can do anything,” Montgomery said. “We wanted to show the kids they really could be part of something special. It really did work. It helped them realize how much they can make a difference.”