SOMERVILLE, NJ  - Students at the Van Derveer School took their time to hang out in the lobby each day before and after class this week, patiently waiting on line to spend 25 cents for a 9-ounce cup of lemonade.

The students are supporting the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a non-profit organization working to find a cure for childhood cancers.

This is the second year that the fourth-grade classes have organized the fund raiser; last year, the effort far surpassed their goal of $500.

Sign Up for E-News

By the end of the second day this year they had raised $937.34, which included proceeds from the sale of t-shirts and the payment of “fines” by teachers who wore jeans to work, according to second grade teacher Maggie McNany, who coordinated this year’s effort with the other fourth-grade teachers.

McNany expects to far exceed this year’s goal of $2,000.

Students are gearing up for big numbers on Thursday, when parents will be attending the school’s annual talent show.

The idea for the lemonade project came about after the fourth graders last year finished reading and discussing the novel 'Lemonade War,'  and the story behind the orgin of Alex's Lemonade Stand and how one little girl would change the meaning of a lemonade stand forever, according to McNany. 

The novel is a fictitious story written by Jacqueline Davies about a young girl and her older brother, who get along fairly well until he finds out that his sister will skip third grade and join him in his fourth grade classroom.

But the story of Alex’s Lemonade Stand is very real.

When Alexandra Scott was just four-years-old, she held her first childhood cancer fundraiser in the front yard of her Connecticut home where she lived with her mom and dad and three siblings. She raised over $2,000. By the time of her death in 2004, Alex had raised $1 million and inspired a legacy of hope and cures for childhood cancer. 

She was born in 1996. Shortly before her first birthday, Alex was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer.
On her first birthday, the doctors told Alex’s parents that if she beat her cancer it was doubtful that she would ever walk again. Just two weeks later, Alex slightly moved her leg at her parents’ request to kick. This was the first indication of who she would turn out to be — a determined, courageous, confident and inspiring child with big dreams and big accomplishments.

Over the past several weeks 120  fourth graders prepared a marketing and advertising campaign, designing and selling t-shirts, producing fliers to send home, creating posters and spreading the word about the lemonade stand, according to McNany.

Other teachers involved in the project included Stacey Tumminello - grade level leader; Lindsay Gottfried, who designed the t-shirts; Sarah Liguori and student teacher Samantha Lewis who assisted with taking and organizing shirt orders; Sarah Martin, who keeps tabs on the money and organizes parent volunteers/scheduling; Kaitlyn Kohlhepp, coordinator of class donations; and Aileen Ximenez and Helene Gerson, both of whom created and distributed advertising flyers and posters.

There are two lemonade stands in the school, manned by the students under the supervision of the teachers. The  4th graders take turns volunteering their time before school and after school to work both stands between 8:30-9:15 a.m. and 2:30-3:15 p.m.