ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (CBS) – A northwest suburban middle school has done something special: The students there are champions at raising money for cancer.
Very often, important history is made without fanfare or fireworks. Take for example, Plum Grove Junior High School in Rolling Meadows. The student body — grades 7 and 8 — numbers just 842 students. Yet the school is the number-one junior high in Illinois and one of the top five in the country for raising money for the National Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Over the past 10 years, the school has contributed more than $93,000 to the society through the Pennies for Patients fundraiser.
“I think it’s really cool to be able to go to this school and say that we raised so much money,” seventh-grade Kaitlyn Skarstein says. “When kids talk about our school you can just be like, ‘Oh, yeah, I go there.’”
Seventh-grade history teacher Maura Reid initiated the fundraising effort when her daughter — then a student at Plum Grove — was found to have leukemia. Her daughter is now cancer free.
“As soon as Tegan had gotten sick, my staff was behind me, as anyone. They’re like my extended family, so they were very willing to help,” Reid says.
“It’s kind of like you’re almost saving someone’s life,” seventh-grader Natalie Jakabowskis says. “Today, I donated $2, and I felt good.”
This year, there is every expectation that the school will go over the $100,000 mark in its fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The fundraising drive started this week with straight donations. Next week, comes a raffle; after that, a week of carnival activities.
“I am only 13 years old. That just shows that no matter how young you are or how little you give, anyone can make a difference,” eighth-grader Jessie Hohlzhauer says.