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Madison City Schools’ philanthropy to benefit St. Jude


Months of work by students, teachers and administrators in Madison City Schools will lead to smiles from patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

The system-wide campaign to help St. Jude is tied to the St. Jude Marathon Weekend in Memphis on Dec. 3, students services coordinator Dennis James said.

Thus far, “Team Madison City Schools” has raised $34,159.49. “That number will continue to rise in the next few weeks,” James said. “We will probably end up with around $46,000 this year.”

A few Madison Schools still have active campaigns. Current totals are: Columbia Elementary School, $9,101.67; Rainbow Elementary School, $6,685; Bob Jones High School, $5,633.68; Mill Creek Elementary School, $4,416.72; Liberty Middle School, $3,705.91; Discovery Middle School, $1,218; Central Office, $1,090; West Madison Elementary School, $1,755; and Horizon Elementary School, $553.51.

“Our total places us third in the nation for this fundraising event,” James said.

“Most of our schools have students who are either current or former patients of St. Jude,” James said. “This fundraiser is a way that our students can help other children in need.”

On Dec. 3, at least one staff member from participating schools will run the full marathon (26.2 miles), the half marathon or the 5K in Memphis. “This run is also a way we promote fitness,” James said.

In Memphis, Rebecca Harrison will be the team’s parent representative. Matt and Rebecca Harrison’s daughter, Emmy, was treated at St. Jude and has completed chemotherapy. Emmy, a kindergarten student at Columbia, raised about $9,500.

“We became involved with St. Jude as a way to teach our students the importance of helping those in need,” James said. “We expect that our students will one day be global leaders. They learn that they have the power to make a difference in their world.”

“It’s a unique opportunity for schools because students can easily see they’re helping people their own age,” he said.

Individuals who want to donate can visit mystjudeheroes.org/madison.

Madison teachers and administrators are committed personally to the fundraising campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“This fundraiser is dear to my heart,” Liberty Middle School coordinator Carmen Buchanan said. “It’s the first time that I’ve been the ‘hero’ for Liberty.” Former principal Sally Bruer asked Buchanan to assume that role.

For Buchanan, the campaign is “so dear to my heart is because I have a former student (who now is a friend) with a young daughter who is currently at St. Jude. Rylan Panzieri, the two-year-old daughter of Erin and Tim, is fighting stomach cancer.”

Courtney Hooper’s drama classes at Liberty won the classroom competition in collections. One of Hooper’s students donated her birthday money.

“Our community always responds generously to this campaign,” students services coordinator Dennis James said. “They understand the importance of the work at St. Jude, and the research helps children worldwide.”

Students at Bob Jones High School support St. Jude because of the pediatric treatment and discoveries from research of catastrophic diseases, assistant principal Dr. Julie Finley said. “We have a number of students who have benefited both directly and indirectly,” she said.

Cancer has touched many children at West Madison Elementary School, principal Dr. Daphne Jah said. This year, she and teacher Kym Mittman have dedicated the Memphis race to former student Dylan and Mittman’s friend Sasha.

Deb Harlow, Pam Chambliss and Melissa Butler are team ‘heroes’ at Discovery Middle School. “We wanted to truly help the St. Jude cause, which is helping cure and treat kids with cancer,” Melissa Butler said. “As parents of children ourselves, we realize the importance and need to do what we can do to help out and to bring awareness to the plight of these kids. We are happy to be able to help.”

“This money is for a great cause,” Columbia principal Nelson Brown said. “Our students were able to see that their efforts to raise money help the children being served by St. Jude.”


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