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Growing Up to be Good Citizens

By Staff | Mar 13, 2012

Ashkar first grade students are pictured shopping for books. Proceeds will go to the Delaney Heller Fund. In the back row are the fundraiser’s organizers, sixth grade students Tyler Croucher, left, and Parker Voitek, right.

HUGHESVILLE – At Ashkar Elementary in Hughesville, sixth grade students Tyler Croucher, and Parker Voitek recently embarked on a quest to raise money for Delaney Heller, of Williamsport, who is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

Their teacher, Melissa Olshefskie, provided background information about the details of the event. Voitek had recently run for class president, and had given a speech to his classmates about wanting to help his community. Croucher decided to do a fundraiser for Delaney Heller. His aunt had given him an inspirational (Never Give Up) wristband, and explained to him why the money was being raised.

Croucher and Voitek began working together to plan activities. The students met with Olshefskie to discuss their ideas. The last step in the process was requesting a meeting with Ashkar Principal, Sherry Cowburn to present their plan of action and ask for approval.

Many students from the classroom volunteered their time. Students from each of the three sixth grade homerooms donated items, as well as other students and their families. The students posted flyers around school, sent information home to the parents, and sent additional reminders about the two scheduled events: a healthy snacks bake sale, and a book sale. The response to both events was overwhelming.

Olshefskie contacted the Hughesville American Legion, asking for a monetary donation for wristbands. Representative John Kita sent a check for $1,000 to the school, and later was invited by Olshefskie to come to Ashkar to meet with Croucher and Voitek.

When interviewed later about the experience, Croucher replied, ” I will remember the comment from the man from the American Legion. He said, “We’ll grow up to be good citizens.” Voitek replied with the same sentiment, and he also added, ” He also made us feel really good. “

The boys went on to explain that Delaney has to travel to many far away places for medicine, and medical care, and their desire was to give the money to the Heller family so they could use the money for whatever they needed the most, such as medicine or gas. The total amount raised, including the American Legion donation, was $2,448.00.

Croucher and Voitek’s enthusiasm and heartfelt concern of Delaney Heller, a girl their own age, touched many parents, students, and staff at Ashkar Elementary. In all, many members of the school banded together to make the fundraiser a big success. The boys and all who participated will be remembered as “Ashkar Stars.”