ShareThis Page
Valley News Dispatch

Cupcakes and tattoos lead to donation of $1,000 and 200 books to Lower Burrell school

| Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, 8:03 p.m.
Fifth-grader Cora Lee Kobelenske hugs teacher Michelle Smith after giving her and fellow fifth-grade teacher Deanna Lott donations totaling $1,000 at Stewart Elementary School in Lower Burrell on Dec. 5, 2017.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Fifth-grader Cora Lee Kobelenske hugs teacher Michelle Smith after giving her and fellow fifth-grade teacher Deanna Lott donations totaling $1,000 at Stewart Elementary School in Lower Burrell on Dec. 5, 2017.
Stewart Elementary fifth-grader Cora Lee Kobelenske surprises fifth-grade teachers Michelle Smith and Deanna Lott (both on right) with a $1,000 donation for classroom supplies. Cheri Croney, owner of True Image Tattoo in New Kensington, looks on behind Cora Lee at Stewart Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Stewart Elementary fifth-grader Cora Lee Kobelenske surprises fifth-grade teachers Michelle Smith and Deanna Lott (both on right) with a $1,000 donation for classroom supplies. Cheri Croney, owner of True Image Tattoo in New Kensington, looks on behind Cora Lee at Stewart Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.
Stewart Elementary School fifth-grade teachers Michelle Smith, left, and Deanna Lott received surprise donations from New Kensington’s Cora Lee Cupcakes and Cheri Croney, owner of True Image Tatoo in New Kensington on behalf of The Kevin Croney Foundation. Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Stewart Elementary School fifth-grade teachers Michelle Smith, left, and Deanna Lott received surprise donations from New Kensington’s Cora Lee Cupcakes and Cheri Croney, owner of True Image Tatoo in New Kensington on behalf of The Kevin Croney Foundation. Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017

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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me