While most children at East Pointe Elementary School in Greenwood were jumping in bounce houses and squealing on the playground Thursday in celebration of the school’s May Day festival, one class instead dedicated their day to raising money for students in Moore, Okla.
Storms that swept the Midwest on May 20 leveled Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, and for East Pointe students in Tessa Dean’s fourth-grade class, nothing seemed as tragic as losing a school.
"My kids are a very unique group; they are just very compassionate, very sweet, and when they came in that Tuesday morning, some of them were in tears," Dean said. "We watch the news on our smart board and they wanted to see the updates about the tornado damage and they were just very upset, so they immediately started brainstorming."
Their brainstorming led to a lemonade stand Thursday, where they sold the drink to their fellow students.
"I don’t like storms," fourth-grader Allison Rose said. "And to lose my school, and my education. That would be so sad."
"And it’s really good for schools to help out other schools," added Madison Philpot as she poured a cup of strawberry lemonade.
Dean said the lemonade-stand idea snowballed.
"One stood up, ‘I’m gonna make the fliers!’ then, ‘You can do the poster!’ ‘We need a supply list!’" Dean said. "I mean they just took over; I was very impressed."
Students brought in all the lemonade supplies from cups to sugar, ice and pitchers, said Dean. One girl who has very little at home went to the extreme of selling her snacks. "She was able to raise $7 for the kids in Moore," Dean said. "… That act touched her heart and will touch the hearts of those in Oklahoma."
Community members donated more than $200 before the sale even started, said Dean, and as the event progressed parents and teachers slipped extra bills in with their students’ quarter payments, leading to a total of more than $600 at the end of the day.
As each class of students entered the gymnasium to take their turn on the bounce houses and slides, they stopped by the lemonade stand and were served by Dean’s delighted fourth-graders.
"I just want to cry, it makes me so proud of them," Dean said as she watched. "This was all them; this was their passion."