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Lifestyles

February 26, 2012

Velma-Alma Heart Coronation raising more than $24,000

VELMA — Velma-Alma Public Schools pulled its effort together to raise money for the American Heart Association — and “raise money” it did.

Led by the high school’s BETA Club, students at V-A collected $24,185.50 during the drive. The amount not only surpassed the amount the school raised in previous years, but turned out to be the largest donation to AHA raised in Oklahoma public schools.

The fundraising was part of the school district’s Heart Coronation program, in which students were placed in four age divisions to see how much money each division could raise.

“This year, we are the top school in Oklahoma for donations,” Denise Thompson, teacher and BETA Club advisor, said.

The Heart Coronation program started in the 1980s, and was initially headed up by the school’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America. About 12 to 13 years ago, the BETA Club took over the program.

Students selected in this year’s Heart Coronation were, Division I: Katie Barton and Colt Kirkpatrick, second grade; Division II: Morgan Egger and Cooper Keck, fourth grade; Division III: Emily Combest and David Bryant, eighth grade; and Division IV: Kylee Saville and Tyler Nalley, juniors.

While this year’s group pulled in a collective donation of more than $24,000, the individual groups did their own fundraising. Division I raised $1,425. Division II raised $4,401. Division III raised $2,560.70. And Division IV raised $1,782.07.

The junior class approached various businesses in the community to get donations for the program, and the group also had a bake sale. The eighth grade class also went for donations from businesses, had a bake sale and even sold candy for the program. When it came to fourth grade, the students started by selling candy and then went seeking donations from the local businesses.

The second-graders sold candy and talked to local businesses.

Bryant enjoyed being involved because he felt it was important to help out the American Heart Association. “I think we did good,” he said. “It’s for a good cause.”

This year’s total was more than $5,000 higher than the 2011 total of $19,100. In turn, last year’s total was higher than the previous year. Since 2006, the program annually collected more funds, which have resulted in a total of nearly $122,756 going to the AHA from V-A.

At first, Nalley wasn’t sure about being selected to represent his division. But when once he realized it would be helping others by raising money for the American Heart Association, he got excited.

“It’s not even that hard,” Nalley said. “It’s a really good feeling to help others.”

Saville agreed, noting the program did require a lot of work from the students but it was work worth the effort.

“It’s a lot of responsibility,” Saville said. “We have to keep up with the money.”

The students were excited about the amount of money they raised collectively and were pleased they could contribute to the cause. They said the school district and the community were supportive of the project.

Bryant relished being part of the group, being impressed as he watched people working with one another to benefit a third party.

“It’s all for a great cause,” Bryant said. “It’s cool to see the community and the school come together.”

Nalley said the amount of money raise is inspirational and made him proud to live in a generous community such as Velma.

“That’s pretty awesome,” he proclaimed. “I think it’s a great idea. I wish we had it year round.”

The students had a lot of fun with the program and were glad to contribute to the school’s successful fundraising.

Thompson was delighted to see the students putting out the effort to make this the most successful fundraising year for the Heart Coronation.

While bake sales or candy sales brought in fund, she said the majority of the money raised came from the students approaching businesses.

The combined efforts of the students and businesses drove the fundraiser, and Thompson said the students, much like the Velma community, often look for ways to help one another.

This fundraiser was just an example.

“The community does a lot,” Thompson said.

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