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Akin Road Elementary students raise money for children's cancer research

Among the students who participated in Hats on Day at Akin Road Elementary School were (back) Adam Cavanaugh, Madison Young, Hailie Pierce, Adrianna Scott, (front) Missy Schultz, Scion Kem and Abby Heilman.

Wearing a hat in school is frowned upon. It's a distraction, and it's not acceptable. Right?


Most days, wearing a hat in school isn't allowed, but on Friday, students at Akin Road Elementary School sported their favorite hats, and they did it for a good cause: raising awareness for children's cancer research.

There were hats galore in all of the ARES classrooms last week as part of the Hats on Day. Students earned the right to wear hats by making donations to the Foundation for Children with Cancer.

Every year, the ARES student council chooses a project to benefit a nonprofit organization, school counselor Jaci Brand said. ARES did a Hats on Day project for the Foundation for Children with Cancer two years ago, but chose a different nonprofit last year. When this year's group learned about the children's cancer project, they decided to support it.

"Every year I give them some ideas. They brainstorm on how they want to give back, and that's the one they wanted to do," Brand said.

Students earned the right to wear hats by donating any amount of money they were comfortable with. Teachers collected the money, but the student council was responsible to count it and make the donation, Brand said.

Some students chose to wear a stocking cap. Others donned baseball caps. A few got a little more creative with their hats, but that's all part of the fun, Brand said.

"That's one of the hardest things. We don't want it to be too distracting, but we always have a few goofy hats, too," she said.

A lot of events held at the school have some sort of incentive attached, like a pizza party for the class that raises the most money. But that didn't happen with last week's program, Brand said. Part of the lesson in holding a fundraiser of this kind is getting kids to think of other people, which Brand thinks is incentive enough.

"We don't give prizes for the most amount raised for this. We just want them to donate because it's the right thing to do. They do it for the awareness for the awareness of cancer treatment and for the kids to understand how hard that is," she said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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