There are standards of learning used to test student comprehension in subjects like reading, writing and arithmetic. But there are other subject areas – like citizenship, compassion and community support – that carry similar importance, but can’t always be measured through standardized testing. The students of D. G. Cooley Elementary in Berryville, Virginia may have received just one such lesson this week.
“Alex was a little girl who had a disease and started a lemonade stand to raise money to help other people who also had the disease,” said Cooley second grader Maya Marasco.
Marasco and Cooley’s approximately 100-member second grade class have spent every morning of the past week selling lemonade and parent-donated treats to support the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF).
ALSF shares founder Alexandra “Alex” Scott’s vision for a cure for all children with cancer.
Cooley second grade teacher Barbara Large, who organized the week-long event, said that the funds raised by the students will be used, in part, to support ALSF and, in part, to offset fuel costs for a planned second grade trip to the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.
“The lemonade stand fund raiser is a chance for the students to learn about supporting their community, helping others, and also the economics of how a business works,” said Large.
Large said that as part of the fundraising project, each second grade teacher read the book “Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand” to their class. Large recounted that when Alex, who was diagnosed with childhood cancer just before her first birthday, was four-years-old she told her parents that she wanted to set up a front-yard lemonade stand. Her first “Alex’s Lemonade Stand” raised an astonishing $2,000 in a single day.
“Alex decided to give the money to doctors to help them find a cure,” Large said.
While bravely fighting her own cancer, Alex continued to set up lemonade stands every year. As news spread of the remarkable girl so dedicated to helping other sick children, people everywhere were inspired to start their own lemonade stands—donating the proceeds to her cause.
“The students heard Alex’s story and understood it,” Large said. “This is a way for them to help.”
On Friday, classes of students eagerly filed into D.G. Cooley Elementary’s lobby with money in hand to purchase snacks and lemonade. Student-customers politely handed dollar bills and coins to student-clerks in charge of selling the goodies.
“Okay, you gave me three dollars so I owe you fifty cents, right?” one student said to another.
After purchasing their morning snack, students carefully sat down along a corridor wall to savor the treat and sip glassfuls of lemonade.
Large said that the decision to donate a portion of the money raised to help offset the fuel costs of the Washington trip is also part of the lesson.
“This helps the students understand how important it is to give back to their community,” Large said.
If Maya Marasco’s experience is representative of her fellow second graders the lesson learned won’t soon be forgotten.
“We got to make lemonade and sell it to help people who are sick,” Marasco said. “It makes me feel really good to be able to do it!”
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