Vail Valley school puts the action in activity to fight childhood cancer |

Vail Valley school puts the action in activity to fight childhood cancer

Brush Creek Elementary students host Pennies for Patients event

Kathryn Brock, left, and Easton Shaw make sure everything is in order for Wednesday's Pennies for Patients event at Brush Creek Elementary School.
Randy Wyrick |

EAGLE — Brush Creek Elementary School students traded classrooms for controlled chaos in this year’s Multiage Marketplace.

In EduSpeak, their Multiage Marketplace is a “Project-based learning event.” That means Brush Creek Elementary School students flexed their entrepreneurial muscles to make, sell and buy stuff to raise thousands of dollars for Pennies for Patients, a program of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

It’s personal. Half the money the students raise stays local. Last year’s event raised money for Brush Creek classmate Cohen Scriver. This year, it’s Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy’s Campbell Sullivan.

In two hours on May 8, the Brush Creek students raised almost a couple thousand dollars. That doesn’t include the thousands of dollars they raised prior to the event.

“It’s all about the kids and helping them help each other,” said Kathryn Brock, who teaches first and second grade at the school.

Brock team teaches with Dawn Theelke. They and Jodie Metz’s class, comprised of second and third grade students, helped champion this year’s event.

Energy equals effect

Kids were everywhere at the event, as was their energy. They danced, they sang, they worked.

Brock and others scoured garage sales finding treasures, such as Captain America helmets, Iron Man action figures and every conceivable stuffed animal known to humanity.

First grader Easton Shaw smiled while staffing one of the treasure tables.

“This is my job!” he said happily.

When the morning started, tables were stacked full. By 11 a.m. almost everything was gone.

One class made turtles from egg cartons. A local yoga studio offered yoga lessons.

Michelle Morrison’s fifth graders started a knitting club. Their wares were sold out in 15 minutes, a valuable lesson in the economic laws of supply and demand.

For example, Jim Heimerl is one of Morrison’s student knitters, which means he helped create the supply. He also bought an infinity scarf, which makes him a factor in the demand part of the equation.

“It’s a hand-on activity,” Morrison said, extolling the glories of kinesthetic learning. That’s hands-on learning through physical activities, instead of sitting in a chair and pretending to listen to a lecture, as we did when we were kids.

Students also learned problem-solving, geometry, a little math and some lessons about hyperbolic planes — all while enjoying the stress relief that knitting brings.

There was a make-and-take craft booth, a photo booth, a dancing area and all sorts of food that actually tasted good. It tasted good because you cannot make cupcakes from kale, which doesn’t.

“I am so thankful for the BCES community support! Go Bobcats! Proud to call Eagle my hometown,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan had a stem cell transplant for CIC-DUX4, a “Ewings Like” Sarcoma two months ago at Children’s Hospital of Colorado and says she’s happy to be back home in Eagle.

“I am looking forward to graduating from VSSA on May 31 and taking a year off before college to pursue ski racing. Thanks to everyone in the Vail Valley that has supported me during my treatment,” she said. “Pediatric cancer deserves more than 4% of the budget for cancer research!”

Brush Creek’s Multiage marketplace started a year or so ago when Brush Creek students saw a presentation about Pennies for Patients. Teary-eyed students returned to class asking, “So many people have cancer. What are we going to do?”

You do this. The name of the drive is Pennies for Patients, after all. You fight childhood leukemia one penny at a time. Pennies become dollars, and dollars become a cure.

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