By Laurie Hindman
In May, Tracy Olson, a teacher at Turner Middle School, challenged her students to think of ways they could give to community for the United Ways Global Youth Service Week.
Matt Ayers, at the time in the seventh grade, decided to organize a Saint Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser; Saint Baldrick’s raises money for childhood cancer research by holding events where volunteers shave their heads in solidarity of children with cancer, while requesting donations of support from friends and family. Matt, with the support of Olson and the rest of his class, organized a school assembly at which nineteen students and three faculty members shaved their heads.
The group raised over $4,400 for cancer research. Matt was inspiration for the event came from the Colorado Avalanche team who, in the past, has held several St. Baldrick fundraisers.
In recognition of Matt’s selflessness, a representative from the Colorado Avalanche surprised Matt during class by presenting him with a signed hockey stick, a poster of the Avalanche team with heads shaved and a promise to take Matt, his Dad, and the entire Consumer Studies class to an Av’s game this fall. On Nov. 26, the Avalanche met their promise.
Over twenty TMS students and family members attended the game, as well as Principal Bill Siebers, counselor Ryan Smith and teacher Tracy Olson. Because not all students from last year’s class were able to attend, eighth-grader Angelo Dabbiero and his father were invited. Angelo is currently being treated for rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the muscle fibers.
Olson said that the kids had a great time. “The seats were excellent. We had so much fun. This is a special group of kiddos.”
<p class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;”><span style=”font-family: "Times New Roman";”>Students from Turner Middle School attended a Colorado Avalanche game as a reward for a fundraising event organized by student Matt Ayers and the rest of his Consumer Studies class. From left to right: teacher Tracy Olson, Savanna Pague, Erin Briggs, Glenna Waite, Amy Taylor, Hollie Isakson, Dylan Brown and Matt Ayers. Some of the students and adults were not available at the time the photo was taken.</span></p>