Cupcakes and tattoos lead to donation of $1,000 and 200 books to Lower Burrell school
Two Stewart Elementary School teachers received a sweet surprise this week.
Newly hired Stewart Principal Jim Croushore invited the owners of Cora Lee Cupcakes and True Image Tattoo, both of New Kensington, to the Lower Burrell school this week, where fifth-grade student Cora Lee Kobelenske was at the ready with unexpected gifts.
Fifth-grade learning support teachers Deanna Lott and Michelle Smith's otherwise routine morning was interrupted — for good reason.
Kobelenske, a student of both teachers, is on the autism spectrum and has a learning disability.
She gifted both teachers with cupcakes and two monetary donations totaling $1,000.
Additionally, 200 books destined for the school's “Book Nook” were donated.
“This is fantastic,” said Lott. “It's nice to have someone that has your back and appreciates you.”
Both teachers plan to use the money to buy “manipulatives” — hands-on interactive supplies and learning tools for their students.
“The students can learn at a deeper level using these,” Smith said.
While the donation directly benefits the learning support department at Stewart, Cora Lee Cupcake owners Courtney Kobelenske and Kylie Lash stressed that all students will benefit from the book donation and will have access to any supplies purchased.
“Our donations can help hundreds of kids as they come through the doors of Burrell School District schools,” Courtney Kobelenske said.
Cora Lee Cupcakes, in Federelli Square, New Kensington, bakes gourmet cupcakes inspired by Cora Lee. Courtney and Kylie are sisters.
“Cora Lee loves helping everyone and has the biggest heart,” said her mom, Courtney.
Cora Lee Cupcakes hosted a cupcake-themed fundraiser on Veterans Day, with all proceeds raised that day benefiting this year's donation at Stewart.
The business has given more than $3,000 to the district, with donations in 2014, 2015 and 2017 to Bon Air Elementary and, most recently, Stewart.
Croney Foundation pitches in
Cheri Croney of the Kevin Croney Foundation and owner of True Image Tattoo in New Kensington stepped up to help Cora Lee Cupcakes meet its $1,000 goal this year, according to Lash.
“She is a remarkable lady and only just met Cora Lee,” Lash said. “There wasn't a question on her commitment to help, and she donated several hundred dollars.”
Croney started the Kevin Croney Foundation in memory of her late husband, Kevin, who was murdered in New Kensington on March 13, 2015. The purpose of the foundation is to raise funds to help others.
Croushore is happy to see a supportive parental presence at Stewart.
“We are fortunate to have parents willing to share their resources for all of our students here at Stewart,” he said.
Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.