COLLIERS - Just as Dr. Seuss often used whimsical characters and settings to tell stories with a deeper message, the light-hearted fun of Colliers Primary School's Silly for Seuss Day had a serious purpose also.
The school is among schools and libraries this month celebrating the late children's author's birthday with a day of activities geared at promoting reading. But it went a step further by incorporating a local charity, the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, into the festivities on Friday.
Children and their families were challenged to raise money for the organization, which provides funding to 30 area agencies, including the Brooke County Public Library, Brooke and Hancock County Salvation Army, American Red Cross and Catholic Charities of West Virginia.
FUN IN FUNDRAISING — Children and staff at Colliers Primary School raised $1,000 for the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley as part of the school’s Silly for Seuss Day held Friday. As an incentive for the fundraiser, Principal Jo-Ellen Goodall, far right, agreed to be the target of pies and slime. With her and Ruth Lewis, a volunteer with the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, are pupils Ruari Stoll, Madison Burge, Dalton Anderson, Sydney Felouzis, Tyler Tennant, Alex Garrett, Ethan Robey, Ryan Stilgenbauer and Helena Hurst and fourth-grade teacher Dana Stoll, who concocted the slime. - Contributed
As an incentive, Principal Jo-Ellen Goodall agreed to allow pupils to throw pie in her face if they raised $250 and to have slime poured over her head if they raised $500. To Goodall's surprise, $1,000 was raised.
She explained that as news spread of the fundraiser, a late addition to the Silly for Seuss Day, many donations were submitted from within and outside the school, including retired Brooke County teachers.
When the total raised exceeded expectations, Goodall agreed to have five pies thrown at her and six pots of green slime poured on her.
Doing the honors were a representative of each of the school's five grades and each of the school's six homerooms, who were selected through a random computer drawing.
Goodall revealed the pies were actually tin pans filled with whipped cream. Who could justify wasting a perfectly good real pie, she reasoned.
Dubbed oobleck, for the strange substance found in Seuss' "Bartholomew and the Oobleck," the slime was made by fourth-grade teacher Dana Stoll using a recipe she found on the Internet that involved food coloring that won't stain, Goodall said.
Nonetheless, Goodall donned old clothes as well as a shower cap and goggles before being pied and slimed during a school assembly at the end of the day.
Goodall had entered wearing also a shower curtain but that was just part of an act in which she declared herself the Queen of Clean to egg on her eager assailants.
The children were encouraged to dress up themselves - as characters in Seuss' books ranging from Cindy Lou Who, Thing 1 and Thing 2 and Yertle the Turtle, or any outfit of their imagining.
"A lot of them made the costumes themselves," Goodall said.
The assembly also served to recognize and encourage fourth-graders Ethan Robey and Ryan Stilgenbauer, who competed in the regional Math Field Day competition the following day.
The school also was visited that day by a number of guest readers, including Weirton Mayor George Kondik, Superintendent Kathy Kidder and Valerie Smith, Brooke County Schools director of student services.
United Way volunteer Ruth Lewis of Wellsburg was on hand to accept the donation for the organization, which is headed locally by Executive Director George Smoulder.
Goodall said it's not the first time the Seuss festivities have involved helping others. Last year the school raised money for a local family that lost their home in a fire.