South Side Academy carnival raises money for patients

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South Side Academy’s

Pennies for Patients Carnival on Tuesday was not just a lot of fun for the charter school’s students.

The carnival, along with other activities the past few days such as wearing PJ’s for Pennies, raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Costumed teachers and aides got in on the festivities by operating carnival games set up around the gymnasium.

Third-grade teacher Cindy Sluder of Shenango Township, Pa., wearing a Mardi Gras-type mask, said she engages students to show learning can be fun.

And, because when they think of school as a fun place, they bring their families to events such as Tuesday’s carnival.

Sluder said one of the reasons she became a teacher is because school had been boring for her, and she wanted to make school fun and more engaging. “When it’s fun, students learn without realizing it,” she said.

Remona Scrutchen said she tries to make sure her kids, Anthony, 11, and Aniyah, 10, don’t miss any school activities.

“It’s the little things that excite them,” Scrutchen said of the games and prizes at the carnival. “This school is always doing something. I like the teachers, too,” she said.

The kids also went home with weekend grocery bags, a program similar to backpack programs in other schools around the Mahoning Valley, said Kristine Shaffer, dean of students. Stephanie Groscost is principal of the kindergarten-eighth grade school at 1400 Oak Hill Ave.

In addition to the school’s first carnival, there have been several other events this month to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, said event coordinator Anita Romeo, an intervention specialist at the school and coordinator of the event.

One of the events is a contest among classes, the winner of which will get a lunch catered by the Olive Garden restaurant, said Romeo, who noted the school is within reach of its overall $750 goal.

After starting in January, students will continue through Feb. 23 to raise funds.

“Here at South Side Academy, we encourage the involvement of our youth in positive activities that are of service to others. This helps to make our youth global, compassionate and culturally well-rounded individuals,” said Groscost.

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