Moorestown student raises funds for breast cancer research, duct tapes principals to wall

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William Allen Middle School was really sticking it to breast cancer with a duct tape fundraiser last week.

WAMS seventh grader Emily Wright held a fundraiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation during the seventh- and eighth-grade lunch periods where Principal Matthew Keith and Vice Principal Raymond Kelly were duct taped to the cafeteria wall. Students and staff donated money for pieces of duct tape to be put on each of the men, sticking them to the wall. Emily raised $138.

“I feel like (this fundraiser) is something fun for everyone in the school to do and something different that also will help people with cancer,” Emily said.

Emily’s fundraiser started with the Make A Difference project from her class with teacher Carrie Schaffer. According to Schaffer, the MAD project stems from a unit called “Stolen Childhoods” where students read about and evaluate the problem of child labor. One story was about a young man named Iqbal Masih who escaped labor and began traveling the world teaching others about the injustices of child labor. However, at the age of 12, Iqbal was murdered in 1995 by the carpet factory owners who enslaved him for many years. When Iqbal died, a 12-year-old in Canada, Craig Kielburger, heard about his story and started the organization Free The Children to continue Iqbal’s fight. Today, Free The Children is the leading organization of kids making a difference in the world.

After the unit, students were challenged to do something about a cause they are passionate about.

“The goal is to teach them that, just like Iqbal Masih and Craig Kielburger, they can be the change they want to see in the world even though they are only in seventh grade,” Schaffer said.

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Students completed various projects related to their causes, from writing letters to the president about prison reform to donating school supplies to the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Camden. Emily chose to help in the fight against breast cancer. She has a close family friend who had breast cancer about two years ago, so she is passionate about helping to find a cure.

She was inspired by news stories about taping people to a wall to help raise money for charity, and thought that would be a great and fun way to do her project.

“I want people to see that helping people can be fun. It doesn’t have to be a task or a chore. It can be fun and easy,” Emily said.

According to Emily, it took her about a month to get everything together. She created posters, emails and made announcements about the event, as well as including some facts about breast cancer. She also got duct tape and scissors in preparation for the fundraiser. Schaffer helped Emily, but just as a facilitator.

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To get permission to hold the fundraiser at the school, as well as get willing participants for the duct taping, Emily went to Keith and Kelly to ask permission and was given the go ahead.

Keith said he thought he would be standing on the ground and taped to the wall. However, when he came to the cafeteria, he saw he would be standing on a chair to be taken away, to see if he would stick to the wall.

“Once I heard I would be standing on a chair, I was a little nervous,” Keith said.

Students and staff donated money to tape Keith. The pieces were sold as $1 for the arms, $1.50 for the legs and $2 for the shoulders. From shoulders to legs, Keith was taped, and by the end of the seventh-grade lunch period, he was covered in pink and purple duct tape. Keith said while he was being taped, he felt like it was creating a fun connection with students and staff.

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When it came time to test to see if Keith would stick, the chair was removed with a little bit of struggle, but he stuck. It lasted for about 10 seconds, as the tape started to come off and he stood lightly on the ground.

“The fall wasn’t as bad as I had expected,” Keith said.

Kelly was taped to the wall for the eighth-grade lunch period.

For all of the MAD projects, students were able to donate $633 to their various organizations, according to Schaffer. Keith said WAMS raised more than $5,000 this year for different charities.

“This just epitomizes the giving spirit we have here. It is great to see and hopefully (the students) can take that home and continue to do it,” Keith said.