SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ  – For the past 21 years, students at Franklin Elementary School in South Plainfield have participated in an annual math-a-thon to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Each year, participating Franklin students seek monetary sponsorships from family members and friends and, in return, pledge to complete different grade-appropriate math workbooks created by Scholastic.

“Each year when we set a fundraising goal for the math-a-thon, we not only meet that goal, but we exceed it. The amount raised has increased each year and this year was no different,” said Kiley Squier who, along with fellow fourth grade teacher Kim Broggi, runs the annual initiative.

Coming into this year’s fundraiser, which ran throughout October, Franklin set its goal at $3,806.61 in the hopes of bringing the school’s total contribution to St. Jude since 1996 to $100,000. However, thanks to the generous donations that poured, Franklin not only reached its goal, it surpassed it.

Sign Up for E-News

A total of $5,280.50 was raised through the 2016 math-a-thon to bring the total donated to St. Jude over the past 21 years to $101,519.89. “This was our highest fundraising year ever,” said Squier.

The students’ fundraising efforts were recognized at a Nov. 21 assembly and a December ice cream party will be held for all those who raised money this year. Additionally, the school’s top five individual fundraisers – first grader Sophia Salvatore ($705); fourth grader Amaiya Rose Ransom ($620); first grader Julia Rodger ($425); second grader Eliana Plum ($305); and kindergartner Aanay Chokshi ($250) – were acknowledged.

“That’s a big, six digit number,” Broggi told the students. “We want to say ‘thank you’ to all the students and staff who have participated in the math-a-thon over the years and made a donation to St. Jude.”

The St. Jude Math-A-Thon has, for the past 37 years, been providing students with the opportunity to win prizes while improving upon their math skills and learning the importance of helping others. Former fourth grade teacher Maryann Stavina started the fundraising effort at Franklin in 1996 and ran it annually until her retirement in 2002. South Plainfield resident Janet Donnelly continued the fundraiser for the next decade and, when she retired in 2012, Broggi and Squier took over as advisors.

 “St. Jude is such a worthwhile organization and people are so generous when it comes to giving. There are many successes coming out of St. Jude and everything you raise goes to help them in the treatment and cure of cancer and other diseases…” said Donnelly, who was invited to speak at Monday’s assembly, said. “One hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money and a huge milestone for such a worthwhile cause.”

According to Squier, through their fundraising efforts this year, Franklin students have shown that the children of St. Jude’s hold a very special place in their hearts. “Here at Franklin School, we teach our students the importance of giving back and helping others,” she said. “I am extremely grateful to, and completely overwhelmed, by the generosity displayed by the parents, the students, and the staff at Franklin School during this year’s math-a-thon.”

“It’s amazing all the wonderful things our Franklin students, staff, parents, PTO, and community do for some many worthwhile causes.  Every time they are asked to step up and help someone, the Franklin Community goes above and beyond,” said Franklin Principal Ralph Errico, adding, “I would like to thank everyone that helped us achieve this lofty goal of raising over $100,000 since the inception of fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. [Also], special thanks to our top 5 fundraisers and to Mrs. Donnelly, Mrs. Squier, and Mrs. Broggi. Franklin Rocks!”

For more information about the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Math-A-Thon or to make a donation, visit https://www.stjude.org/get-involved/at-school/mathathon.html or www.mathathon.org.

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.TAPinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthPlainfieldTAP/ and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.