SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Roosevelt Elementary School’s first Great Kindness Challenge promoted acts of kindness among the pre-K through fourth graders as well as raised awareness and money to help the animals affected by the Australian wildfires. 

“The first Great Kindness Challenge was a huge success. It took a ton of planning and hard work but the teachers and staff did a great job pulling it all together. [Kindergarten teacher Mary Beth] Basedow did an amazing job taking the lead and organizing all of the activities,” said Roosevelt Principal Dr. Robert Goman.

During the Great Kindness Challenge, which ran from Feb. 3 through Feb. 7, students were encouraged to perform as many acts of kindness as possible from a list of 50 and also had the opportunity to take part in a variety of different activities, including a ‘Pause-itivity’ assembly. The initiative also marked the launch of the school’s Coins for Koalas fundraising effort, which ran for two weeks, and raised money for the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery.

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The goal was set at $3,000 with the class from each grade that raised the most earning an extra recess and, in an effort to make it a bit more exciting, third grade teacher Mike Betram agreed to be pied in the face at the $1,000 mark and art teacher Melanie Glowacki signed up to be duct-taped to the wall if $2,000 was collected. Additionally, Goman pledged to shave off his hair if the goal was met and, by the Feb. 14 deadline, $3,482.90 had been raised. 

“I was definitely worried for a few days that we set the goal to high. On Wednesday [Feb. 12], we were $57 short of our goal,” said Goman, telling TAPinto that the following morning, Superintendent Dr. Noreen Lishak donated $60 to put them over $3,000 and, over the next two days, student donations poured in. “We surpassed our goal by almost $500."

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