Bellefonte Area Middle School raises more than $12,000 for scholarship in honor of classmate stricken by cancer

In one week, Donna Smith’s eighth-grade homeroom raised about $1,200 — the most a Bellefonte Area Middle School homeroom raised for the DC8 Fund, earlier this month.

A close second came from Dave Gregor’s sixth-grade homeroom class, which raised a little more than $1,000, followed by Keith Guiswite’s seventh-grade homeroom.

That contributed to the $12,654.02 raised at the middle school for a districtwide scholarship named in memory of Dylan Crunick — a 15-year-old Bellefonte Area High School student who died of cancer in January.

On Friday, the school administration plans to present a check to Crunick’s parents, David and Kristen Crunick, and friends of the charity at the school’s fall assembly, Principal Sommer Garman said.

“It’s amazing, and (it’s) our chance to show what they accomplished,” Garman said.

“We raised this money in a week. It was a very fast and furious thing.”

The DC8 Fund will provide scholarships to graduating Bellefonte seniors who value the same qualities that Crunick had, teacher Lisa Packer said.

It will also provide funding for childhood cancer research and support local families affected by pediatric cancer.

Garman said the biggest fundraising source came from the school’s walk-a-thon Oct. 2 that included a schoolwide walk around the building, a speech from the Crunicks, live entertainment and a chance for students to bring in the donations they raised.

Each participant wore a blue and yellow shirt donated by Collegiate Pride and Reliance Bank.

The shirt represented blue for Crunick’s favorite color and yellow as the official color of childhood cancer.

Garman said there were about 800 participants.

The school held a pie-in-the-face activity, where students could put a quarter in the bin of the teacher they wanted to “pie,” Garman said.

But the week also presented an opportunity for lessons that will target childhood cancer topics throughout the school year, she said.

Teachers and students gathered for a session to learn about childhood cancer through a video and group discussion.

“They know they were raising money for the fund, but we wanted to get down to the bottom of why we were doing it,” Garman said.

“It was an educational process that hits home for a lot of people and students who knew Dylan. Since he passed, we’ve been doing a lot of educational awareness about him and childhood cancer that they’ve gotten a good understanding of.”