Bald Eagle

Howard Elementary students ‘having fun,’ giving back with yard sale

Howard Elementary School fifth-grader Ember Herr helps customer Kathleen Danly during the school’s yard sale. The sale was set up outside of the school’s main entrance Friday to help raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Howard Elementary School fifth-grader Ember Herr helps customer Kathleen Danly during the school’s yard sale. The sale was set up outside of the school’s main entrance Friday to help raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. bmilazzo@centredaily.com

Some students were asked to get to school a little earlier than usual Friday.

By about 7:30 a.m., 20 Howard Elementary School students who are part of the school’s Spirit Club were already helping set up an area near the school’s main entrance designated for a yard sale.

Items were donated by students, faculty, staff and community members for people to buy through donations. They included books, games, kid-style kitchenware, school supplies and baked goods.

Fifth-grader Ember Herr, who worked two 30-minute shifts, said items didn’t have a price, but customers were asked to make a donation for the things they wanted.

By 11:30 a.m., $335 was raised, said former principal Marsha Sackash, who volunteers with Bald Eagle Area School District.

The sale was an idea piggybacked off a communitywide yard sale to help raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Fifth-grade teacher and Spirit Club adviser Amber Buchanan said the school has helped support the organization for three years.

But this year, it hits a little closer to home.

Second-grader Kane Wolf, who has cancer classified as neuroblastoma, was a Make-A-Wish student who was given a trip to Disney World.

Kane and his family will take the trip in June, Buchanan said.

“Students are seeing this can positively impact someone right in their own backyard,” Buchanan said. “This is a fellow student and friend.”

This year, the school is holding a threefold fundraiser by raising money through the yard sale, collecting money through a schoolwide coin drive, and by getting student sponsors for an annual walk-a-thon.

Fundraising goal: $3,000

The goal this year is to raise at least $3,000. Last year, the school raised $2,300 through a coin drive and walk-a-thon, Buchanan said.

“This (the yard sale) is something new for us,” Buchanan said. “We knew there was a yard sale through the church and community, and students had the idea to do the same. With that, we’re hoping to raise more than we did last year.”

But it also had an educational aspect.

Buchanan said it was a chance for students to improve public speaking with patrons looking to buy items. She also said it helped improve math skills by being able to add donation totals, and “most importantly,” she said, it’s showing kids a way to give back

“They’re taking a lot of what goes on in class to this sale, and having fun with it and learning the message that they can be part of something bigger than themselves,” she said. “It’s one of the most positive things we do.”

Ember had her welcome speech down to perfection.

She greeted customers by introducing herself and a classmate whom she volunteered with, briefly described the sale and then helped customers like Curtin United Methodist Church Pastor Kathleen Danley purchase baked goods and peruse the other items.

“We’ve been working on things like customer service and making sure people feel welcome when they come to our yard sale,” Ember said.

She said practice came during Spirit Club, an extracurricular group founded about six years ago by Sackash to help students promote school spirit while also giving back to the community.

It’s now a program organized by Buchanan and building assistant Melissa Robinson, who oversees students in second to fifth grades.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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