Solving math problems to benefit St. Jude

By Lisa Capobianco

Staff Writer

Students at Kelley School filled the cafeteria recently as they received their workbooks for the annual Math-A-Thon to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Since 1991, students in grades one through five have participated in the Math-A-Thon to help children who suffer from diseases like cancer, AIDS and sickle cell anemia. Founded in Memphis, Tenn. by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude’s is an internationally recognized biomedical research center committed to finding cures for catastrophic diseases of childhood.

Students help raise donation funds by having people pledge a certain amount of money per math problem solved. For example, if a person pledged $1 for every solved math problem, he or she would donate $100 if the student completed 100 problems. Students must complete the workbooks by March 17.

During an assembly last week, students received their packets for the annual fundraiser and watched a video presentation to learn more about how their participation in Math-A-Thon makes a positive impact on St. Jude’s mission.

“If you bring in a dollar, you made a difference,” said teacher and organizer Denise Sadowksi said to students during the assembly. “Every little bit counts.”

Last year Kelley School raised over $11,000, and the goal this year is $15,000.

“We went beyond our goal,” said Sadowski, adding that the majority of students who have won prizes after completing the Math-A-Thon chose to donate the items back to St. Jude.

Through the Math-A-Thon, Sadowski said she hopes students will continue to honor the loss of a student who lost his battle with cancer last year.

“I want children to raise money to honor him,” said Sadowski.

Sadowksi added that this year, the math problems provided in the packets are based on the Common Core State Standards for the first time.

“There’s computations, but there’s also higher level thinking problems—they’re all grade-appropriate,” Sadowksi said.

This year’s Math-A-Thon also coincides with the school’s “asset” of the month: service to others. Kelley School promotes “Asset Building Classrooms” (ABC) as part of STEPS (Southington Town-Wide Effort to Promote Success). Developmental assets serve as positive building blocks that students need to be healthy and successful.

“This is a really nice way to integrate STEPS into our school,” Sadowksi said.

Fifth graders Micaela Potamis and Lauren Bogoslofski both serve on the ABC Committee at Kelley School. Both participants of Math-A-Thon since first grade, Potamis and Bogoslofski have helped promote the fundraiser during morning announcements.

“We want to always help others and make a difference in the world,” they said, adding that the goal of the Math-A-Thon reinforces the asset of the month.

This year they feel excited to continue their participation in the cause in order to help research at St. Jude.

“Last year I raised about $60,” said Potamis, adding that her goal this year is to raise up to $100. “It’s fun to help people while learning at the same time.”

“Last year I raised about $70,” said Bogoslofski, adding that also hopes to raise $100 or more this year.

During the assembly, Sadowski held up a poster showing the turnout of last year’s Math-A-Thon and this year’s goal of $15,000. Sadowski reminded students that their participation in the fundraiser means helping children who may be suffering from cancer or other catastrophic diseases both locally and nationally.

“We’re helping each other,” Sadowski said to students, recognizing that many local families are part of a larger population that has in some way or another been affected by cancer.

Anyone interested in making a donation can contact Sadowski by calling Kelley School at (860) 628-3307.

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