A rally at West Union Elementary on Friday, Feb. 12, was the culmination of a two week long “Coins for Keller” Drive sponsored by the school’s staff, volunteers, and student body.
Three-year old Keller Beech-Wilson, the son of Jennifer Beech and Kyle Wilson of Peebles, was diagnosed with A.L.L. Leukemia in early January. His mother is a fourth grade teacher at WUES.
“When we learned about Keller’s situation we all felt the need to do something for him and his family,” said WUES Assistant Principal Emily Collett “We searched the internet for ideas and decided to hold the coin drive.”
During the fund raiser, students brought coins to school each day: pennies on Monday, nickels on Tuesday, dimes on Wednesday, and so on.
Students were also encouraged to participate in Dress-Up days. “Every day the students and staff have dressed up for the second week of our Coins for Keller challenge. Today, they’re dressed like their favorite super heroes, one other day everyone wore orange, unfortunately, we had a couple of snow days that interfered with our dress up plans,” said teacher Emily Young.
Assistant Principal Karl Boerger praised the students’ efforts, “I’m extremely proud of these young kids, they’ve given all they have to a cause that’s greater than themselves, and that shows grit in these students.”
To encourage students to become involved in the fundraiser, Boerger promised he would shave his head if they raised $2,000. School custodian, Mr. Day, promised he’d do the same for $1,000. Not to be outdone, teacher Emily Young, School Counselor Heidi McAdow, and School Psychologist Alissa Collins all promised to take a pie in the face if the fundraiser brought in $3,000.
“Jennifer Beech is a teacher here at our school,” said Ms. Collett. ”When Keller was first diagnosed with leukemia we were all very concerned. We pulled together as a community to help, and it has been our honor to raise these funds and get our student body involved with helping the family out and raising awareness about the disease.”
The drive raised $3,366. Keller’s grandmother, Jeanmarie Decker, accepted the check on Keller’s behalf. She spoke to the assembly of students, “It’s an amazing thing to me that all of you have given so much out of love. Every penny you’ve given represents love, and love is the best medicine for Keller”.