RED SPRINGS — Students in a second-grade class at Peterson Elementary School enjoyed a sweet reward Thursday with the toss of a pie. Or the throw of one.
“I know they were excited about this,” Principal Melinda Sellers said. “I heard about it for three weeks.”
After raising the most money, $492.96, during the Pennies for Patients fundraiser, Wanda Locklear’s 22 students lined up to each hurl a pie at Sellers on the school’s front lawn. The rest of the second-graders were rewarded with the opportunity to watch, having been the grade level that raised the most money, $1,422.81.
All the money collected will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Sellers wasn’t surprised as the crowd of students cheered each time a pie hit its mark — her face.
“You second-graders are mean to me,” she said jokingly to the students.
The school kicked off the fundraiser April 9. Each student was sent home with a small box to collect money. The entire school raised $3,765.05, easily exceeding its goal of $2,500. The previous record was about $3,400, raised in 2010.
Brittaney Strickland, a guidance counselor, commended the second-graders.
“I was really, really shocked that we exceeded so much, but I’m really proud of them,” Strickland said. “I was very surprised.”
Strickland was the mastermind behind the idea to “Pie the Principal.”
“She gave me a few options, and I’m not going to shave my head,” Sellers said. “So she asked me if I would do the pie and I said, ‘Yes.’”
The opportunity to throw a pie motivated the students to raise money.
“We had students coming up this morning saying. ‘Why don’t I get to pie you in the face?’” she said. “I had parents saying ‘Are you nervous?’”
Sellers said it was a bit nerve-wracking waiting for each student to throw a pie.
“I know they’re just pies, and I know they’re just second-graders, but them coming at you, yes, it’s kind of scary,” Sellers said.
Locklear said she encourages her students to pay it forward.
“I have always encouraged my children through all the years that I have been teaching to give,” Locklear said. “It’s better to give than to receive.”
She gives each of her students treats when they give and always match what they give, Locklear said.
“They brought in money every day and a lot of them can’t afford to come in and hand $5 or $10,” she said. “Every quarter, every dime, every nickle, every penny makes a difference.”
According to its website, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society funds the most promising blood cancer research projects and forges partnerships with academic institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of new therapies.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at 910-416-5865 or at [email protected]