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Carrollton Classical Academy (CCA) has participated in the Student Series fundraiser, previously known as Pasta for Pennies, for the last four years to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). The fundraiser was initially suggested by Yvette Iglinsky, director of Carrollton Classical Academy, who had prior experience with the charity. It was a way to encourage students to live out the “service” portion of the of the student’s promise in the school motto, which says, I will do good things for others without being asked.

“We participated in the Relay for Life in 2013, but we wanted to find a way to make an even bigger impact and instill an understanding of the importance of giving back in our students,” says Melanie Williams, assistant director of CCA. Every year since 2014, CCA partners with LLS in February for a two or three week long fundraiser and each year the goal is higher than the year before. After turning in an impressive donation total of $7,700 in 2017, Steve Abrey, manager of LLS School and Youth programs, came to the school with an even larger goal in mind for the 2018 fundraiser. “Steve came to us asking if we thought we could hit $10,000 this year,” said Williams.

2017 Honored Hero, Makenna

Fundraiser leaders Melanie Williams and Kristi Allen, third-grade teacher, knew that the goal of $10,000 would be difficult for a student population just shy of 300. So they got to work planning all the ways that CCA could try to hit this mammoth goal. The first step was getting the kids excited about the prospect of helping others. At the beginning of each fundraiser, CCA holds a school-wide assembly to kickoff the fundraising efforts.

This year a 10-year-old Leukemia survivor and the 2017 Honored Hero for LLS, Makenna, joined Mr. Abrey in educating the students on what the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society does. Texas Legends Goodwill Ambassador Generous George dropped by to get the kids excited about giving. After that, it was off to the races and the fundraiser was in full swing.

Texas Legends Generous George teaches students basketball skills.

One way that Carrollton Classical Academy encourages its students to donate is through the incentives offered to them for different donation amounts. Students can earn Texas Legends tickets, Epic Waters passes, t-shirts, free dress days, extra recess, and more. Another way CCA brings in donations is with themed days throughout the three weeks and a healthy dose of competition. “We have non-competitive days for $1 per student like pajama day, hat day, and free dress day. We also have “Cyber Mondays” and “Weigh-it Wednesdays,” where the classes with the most online donations or pounds of change brought in, get specific prizes for winning,” said Allen.

One of the biggest competitive pushes comes from the students’ desire to claim first place in the class totals. The winning class gets a free trip to Olive Garden for lunch and a tour of the restaurant, courtesy of the management at the Olive Garden on Beltline Road in Addison, TX.

“We want all of our students to understand that the giving is more important than the winning and I think we can definitely say that many of our students have fully grasped this idea,” said Williams. “At least once a year, we have parents come to us and tell us that their child decided, on their own, that they wanted to donate half of their savings or all of their birthday money. That, for us, shows that our students get it.”

CCA staff present their donation to a representative from LLS.

CCA students, parents, and teachers had from Monday, February 5 through Friday, February 23 to raise $10,000. “On the last day, we were at $8,800 during morning assembly, but by the end of the day our total was $11,085.15,” said Allen.  Ms. Allen’s class has won the overall class prize for the past three years. “Honestly, the selflessness and generosity of our students and their parents is astounding and I could not be more proud to be a part of Carrollton Classical Academy.”

To date, Carrollton Classical Academy has raised more than $28,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and planning for the 2019 fundraiser is already underway. To learn more about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and how you can help fundraiser, please visit

See more pictures from the fundraising celebration and check presentation here.

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Ariana Smith

Author Ariana Smith

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