Facing the possibility of losing a child to cancer may be heart wrenching, but students of Webster Parish helped take the financial burden off of parents by raising more than $130,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"As a district, the schools did very well," said Steve Dozier, Superintendent of Webster Parish Schools. "I am always amazed that we can come up with that amount of money.
"The kids give, the parents give, the community gives and it is definitely a worthwhile cause," he continued "These schools do a tremendous job. It's just amazing."
Minden has been described by St. Jude representatives as "A little town with a big heart."
The small town of Minden has surpassed its previous year's donations with the help of the loving community. Students at Webster Parish schools raised $130,967 this year, with a seven-year total of $689,4137.
Secondary Supervisor Morris Busby said he remembers when, as a classroom teacher, he had a student being treated at St. Jude.
"It's never ceased to amaze me the kind of support the kids give, along with the administrators and principals," Busby said. "I have seen principals shave their heads, sit on rooftops, kiss pigs and all kinds of creatures over the years to be able to raise the money. Just in the last seven years the schools have raised more than $600,000 and I think that is pretty awesome. I am super proud."
Students at Browning Elementary raised $11,100 and were enticed by Principal Levester Mills to kiss a pig at the $7,500 mark and shave his head at the $10,000 mark.
"The kids were so excited. They would chant, 'Kiss the Pig, Kiss the Pig,'" said Ronda Taylor, administrative assistant.
The children raised the majority of the money in January. A hamburger dinner sale and silent auction were the main area of funds being raised.
Central Elementary raised $50,000 this year for St. Jude. The students, teachers, parents and faculty worked the month of January to raise funds by having a bake sale, coin war, kindergarten dance-off, family fun night, raffle basket, selling t-shirts and selling Valentine bears.
J.L. Jones Elementary students raised more than $20,000 by teacher purchased items to raffle (flat screen television, $200 Walmart gift card, Kindle Fire, video games and a coffee maker.)
Classroom competitions and jeans day, along with incentives for class parties, helped raise the money.
Money raised by the schools this year of Webster Parish:
Brown Upper Elementary – $2,000
Browning Elementary – $11,100
Central Elementary – $50,000
Doyline High – $4,000
Harper Elementary n– $4,175
Jones Elementary – $21,337
Lakeside Jr.-Sr. High – $6,490
Minden High School – $10,233
Phillips PK and Middle – $2,690
Richardson Elementary – $2,407
North Webster Lower – $615
North Webster Upper – $6,398
North Webster Junior – $3,759
North Webster High – $1,000
Webster Junior High – $4,760
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital opened its doors on Feb. 4, 1962, founded by Danny Thomas, to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
According to the St. Jude website, it is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.