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Bryan elementary students use class project to raise money for fellow student
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Bryan elementary students use class project to raise money for fellow student

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Over the course of a week earlier this month, third grade bilingual students at Kemp-Carver Elementary School in Bryan raised $450 for a fellow Cub and her family.

Fourth grader Rhaniyah Moore was in a Houston hospital for multiple weeks to treat a heart condition, which included undergoing a lengthy surgery and multiple follow-up procedures, said Alison Boggan, the school’s principal.

When Boggan learned of Rhaniyah’s heart condition, she invited members of the school community to help the family however they felt they could. Third grade bilingual teachers Maria Hurtado and Maria Vega decided to use it as a project to help teach philanthropy, one of the character traits in the Bryan school district’s Essential Eight program.

“It was exciting for them, and exciting to see them so excited to give,” Vega said. “Most students are like ‘Oh what am I going to get?’ But, no, they were excited to give to somebody and to know that they were helping somebody. It was neat, and now that we actually gave the money to the little girl, they were even more excited to actually see it happen.”

Jacqueline Moreno, one of the 33 third graders who took part in the project, said it made her happy to help Rhaniyah, and her Christmas wish for this year was for Rhaniyah to feel better.

Moreno’s classmate Gaele Sanchez said it was his first time raising money for someone else, and he said it made him feel happy to do it.

He described philanthropy as helping someone by giving money, love and time.

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The students raised the money with help from family and friends and doing chores to earn money. Vega said some even chose to donate their savings to add to the total.

Hurtado said they were excited to see the total grow each morning when she would update the number on the board.

Boggan said it made her proud to see how the students took ownership of the project.

While they were raising the money, Hurtado said, the students did not know who they were helping until the check presentation Dec. 13.

“My heart was pounding,” Hurtado said about seeing Rhaniyah and her mom, Rebecca Parnell, step out of the car to cheers and encouraging signs from third and fourth graders. “To me, that was the biggest thing was seeing her walk out of the car.”

Tears flowed as Hurtado, Vega, Boggan, and representatives of the third grade bilingual class met Rhaniyah and her mom in the front of the school to hand over presents and a $450 check.

“I’ve known this family for a really long time, and mom doesn’t get emotional, and for her to be emotional today just proved to me that what our school family has done for her just means a whole lot,” Boggan said. “Rhaniyah is a people person and loves being around her friends, and so for her not to be able to have that connection for over a month has been really hard on her. They’ve been FaceTiming with the kids and her friends in the classroom and stuff, but it’s not the same.”

Hurtado said it is “beyond words” to be able to show her students the impact they can have.

“It’s just exciting to see we have very caring students in our classroom, and that they’re willing to help others,” Vega said.

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