Lessons of giving and giving back taking hold in AISD schools.


Kujawa EC/Pre-K Center students pose during a fundraising effort in 2013.


A lot of folks don’t think much about a penny. But a lot of pennies add up to make a big difference for a lot of people. And that is exactly what Aldine ISD students learned during the 2014-2015 school year. The combined effort of AISD campuses raised nearly $67,500 for the [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Aldine ISD ranked second among the top five fundraising school districts in Region 4.

The majority of the money raised came through participation in [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]LLS’ School and Youth Programs. One of these programs is [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Pasta for Pennies presented by Olive Garden. Pasta for Pennies is a service learning, character education and philanthropy program. Students collect money over a three-week period of the school’s choice. The money raised funds scientific research for drugs to help some patients live a normal life. Drugs like Gleevec, a targeted therapy, zeros in on cancer cells and kills them.

Did You Know?

LLS-School-and-Youth-Programs-Image-1[ul class=”list list-search”] [li]In 1964, the five-year survival rate for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia was 3 percent. Today it’s 90 percent.[/li] [li]An estimated 1,100,000 people in the U.S. are living with, or are in remission from, blood cancer.[/li][/ul]

[ul class=”list list-search”] [li]Since the early 1960s, survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled, tripled or quadrupled.[/li][/ul]

* Statistics from LLS website.

The money also helps LLS research and develop immunotherapy treatments. These are treatments that use a patient’s own immune system to kills cancer cells. There are more drugs and treatments for researchers to develop and discover. But this would not be possible without the efforts of everyday people taking part in fundraisers for LLS.

According to LLS, more than 14.4 million students and 10 million educators in the U.S. help raise funds. For the past 17 years, students have shown how much of an impact they can have. They raised more than $261 million to fund breakthrough therapies and patient services. In 2013-2014, students raised more than $28 million through LLS School and Youth Programs.

Raymond-Academy-Leukemia-Pasta-for-Pennies-Newsletter-3Aldine ISD leaders are proud to take part in the annual fundraising efforts. The district ranked second in the area in the 2014-2015 school year due to support from campuses and the community.

Our students take part in many different causes and initiatives throughout the school year,” said [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg. “In AISD, we hope to develop well-educated citizens. That means it is important that our students understand the importance of giving back to the community. As for the lofty sum raised by the Aldine family, I could not be more proud.

Several AISD campuses ranked among the top in their level. One of those campuses is Raymond Academy. The magnet school earned the recognition of Top School in the District. The campus raised more than $4,413 for the cause. Shalondra Moore is proud of the students and staff. Moore serves as counselor at the campus. She also helped organize and push the initiative.

AISD Students Help Stomp Out Cancer


Students at Raymond Academy during the LLS presentation about blood cancer.

[ul class=”list list-search”] [li][icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Aldine ISD Among Top 5 Districts[/li] [li][icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Raymond Academy Among Top School in District[/li][/ul]

[ul class=”list list-search”] [li][icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]MacArthur Ninth Grade, [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”][icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Davis Ninth Grade and [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Nimitz Ninth Grade Among Top High Schools[/li][/ul]

“We’ve participated in this fundraiser for several years,” Moore said. “It’s become a big thing at Raymond Academy. Each year, we share some stories and videos about kids their own age who are dealing with cancer. That helps them appreciate and understand the impact their efforts make.

The kids really enjoy knowing they are making a difference in someone else’s life.

The Pasta for Pennies competition also aids in raising team spirit. It motivates everyone to take part added Jessica Scott. She serves as principal at Raymond Academy.

Raymond-Academy-Leukemia-Pasta-for-Pennies-1The entire schools gets into the spirit of the fundraiser,” said Scott. “Students carry around boxes asking family and friends to donate change. We have so many giving students, staff, and community members. And I laud Ms. Moore for motivating us to step it up. This is a worthy cause. The program also teaches children about giving back to the community. We want students to grow to be empathetic, compassionate and caring. Volunteering and actively working to help others offers the perfect ways to help instill this lesson. And at the same time they are making a difference in the community.

Traditionally, the top fundraising class at the school earns a reward. For those taking part in the Pasta for Pennies campaign, the top class at a campus earns a free pasta party courtesy of Olive Garden.

Amy Ramírez with LLS attended the celebration to accept the funds from Raymond Academy. She also thanked the Raymond Academy family for their support.

I thank everyone for making a difference and for donating to such a good cause,” said Ramírez. “Every student here has really accomplished something big. And remember: Every penny counts. That small change makes a BIG difference.


Ramírez with LLS stands with Moore from Raymond Academy. Ramírez holds one of the collection boxes. Both also hold green plush toys used in a presentation to describe how cancer attacks the blood.


Visit the [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]LLS School and Youth Programs website for information.