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Ramsay Elementary turns reading into fundraising

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Ramsay Elementary’s Turkey Cup Challenge was originally scheduled for the outdoors. The change in site did nothing to dampen spirits, however. The students had fun dancing in the gymnasium while raising money for the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

When the Turkey Cup Challenge was created years ago by the Westmoreland County Food Bank, there were no guidelines, no rules, no format for the event. The only thing the schools that participated in the challenge had to do was raise money for the organization, which would then be used to purchase turkey vouchers for families in need in the area.

Ramsay Elementary School, in the Mt. Pleasant Area School District, participated in this year's challenge. Tteacher Maryann Bauer used the Turkey Cup Challenge as a creative way to get students to read.

“We had the kids read for three weeks,” Bauer said of the Ramsay format for the event. “They had to read 75 minutes a week and they had sponsors, that is how they raised the money.”

Several schools across Westmoreland County take part in the challenge every year, with thousands being raised for the food bank and for families.

The students that took part in the Ramsay event were treated to an afternoon of fun, as they hit the school gymnasium to spend time with friends and with family members who were invited to participate.

“I think that this is great,” said Eric Poole, who was at the event with wife Andrea Poole and son Brady Poole, 7. “It's a fun way to get out and be active while also helping people in the community.”

About 275 students in second through sixth grades participated and raised $3,750, which was donated to the food bank.

The event had been held at the school for three years and was on hiatus last year, but Bauer decided to bring it back to the delight of WCFB officials.

“We are so pleased that Ramsay is back on board this year,” said Jennifer Miller, WCFB director of development. “They have been an asset to this project for many years. The kids, the teachers and the parents there are just great and we truly appreciate their support. We hope that they had fun with this great event and hope to see them back with us next year. They sure did help to feed a lot of people this year.”

The students walked around the gymnasium as they enjoyed music and also stopped every second or third song for a quick dance such as the Chicken Dance, the Cupid Shuffle and the YMCA song.

“This is something nice that we can do for families who need it,” said student Ashley Mullen, 11. “We get to help people.”

The participating students read at home independently, making an effort to improve their reading while raising money.

“We are always looking for ways to get the students to read and this was a great way to do that,” Bauer said.

The results for the 2013 Turkey Cup Challenge were released with Heritage Elementary School coming in first place, reigning champions Yough Intermediate Middle School placing second and Mt. Pleasant Junior High coming in third.

A total of $34,050.48 was raised this year from the event.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.