Students grasped tightly to thousands of aluminum can tabs laced intricately together. The line, consisting of both children and tabs, began at Main Street, extended up Seminary Street, moved beyond Woodruff Hall and all the way across the lawn of campus on Friday, as Castleton State College and two Castleton Elementary schools celebrated the 11 years of hard work they have done to help raise money for Shriners Hospitals. “They say we will donate more than 1,000 dollars!” said Castleton Village School 8th grader Rachael Butrimas with a smile. “We have been collecting for the whole year.”
At 1:30 p.m. on Friday, seventh and eighth graders from the village school, and 4th graders from the Castleton Elementary School joined together to display the thousands of can tabs they have collected since the Fall. The enthused students controlled nearly 750 feet of land, while on-looking college students stared in awe.
“It’s unbelievable what these kids are doing,” said Castleton Senior Jeff Giegler. “I helped coordinate this event for my Robert T. Stafford internship, and they weren’t kidding when they say it gets pretty long.”
After the parade, students gathered at the village school to listen to a speech about Shriners. The tabs were handed over to the hospital, where they will now be weighed and traded in for cash which will go to hospitals in both Springfield and in Boston.
There are currently 22 Shriners Hospitals in the United States, each one designed to improve the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs.
“The money that we raise does not go to HealthCare though,” said Jan Rousse, assistant director of the Stafford Center for the Study and Support of the Community. “It goes towards things like, movies, books, computers, etc. Whatever the kids want,” said Rousse.
In addition, Rousse, whose group helped coordinate the event, explained that since the hospitals do not have a Ronald Mcdonald house program, the money can also be used to help offset the costs of stay for parents whose children are staying in the hospitals.
“It is a community thing, we are coming together as schools,” said Rousse. “Although there was no formalized group that helped us this year, we did have some college students, led by Stephanie Terry, that started a chain a little more than a week ago, and what they pulled off in a week was amazing! They had a chain the length of this school,” said Rousse pointing to the Village School.
Although there were not many participating college students in the chain this year, Substitute Teacher at the Village school Tammy Keech Arruda explained that in comparison to the last 11 years- this year’s chain has been the longest she has seen.
“Each year we’ve measured it, and we’ve gained at least another 50 feet this year,” said Arruda.
“I can’t wait to see what we pull off next year!”
To learn more about Shriners Hospitals and how to donate, visit http://www.shrinershq.org/Hospitals/Main.