Students Raise Nearly $6,000 for Staff Member Battling Stage 4 Cancer

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Armand Larive Middle School employee Kelly Shy and ALMS and Sandstone Middle School students show off a check for $5,000. The check is for Shy, who is battling cancer. (Photos by Michael Kane)

Kelly Shy had no idea what was in store for her Thursday morning at Armand Larive Middle School where she works in the kitchen.

An assembly was scheduled for the first thing in the morning to reveal the recipient of a month-long fund-raising campaign. Students challenged each other and staff members to raise money in a penny war.

ALMS Principal Stacie Roberts congratulates the students for the effort and kindness on behalf of Kelly Shy.

On Thursday, in the school commons, students and staff gathered as Principal Stacie Roberts announced that the more than $5,000 raised was going to Shy, who is battling stage 4 cancer.

As soon as her name was announced as the recipient of the money, Shy turned away and covered her eyes as emotion overcame her.

“This is overwhelming,” she said.

The initial goal, said Roberts, was to raise $1,000, but that quickly changed to the much more challenging figure when Cory Greenwood, a popular motivational speaker who visited the school in January, said he would return if the students could raise the $5,000.

That motivated the kids to get the staff involved and then others in community pitched in, as well.

“People that don’t even know you helped out,” Roberts told her students Thursday morning. “You guys are awesome – you did it!”

When students from Sandstone Middle School heard about the challenge little more than a week ago, they got involved and raised $800.

As she wiped away the tears, Shy was surrounded by students and staff who all wanted to give her a hug. Shy has been at Armand Larive since September. She has two boys, one who is 2 and a half and another who is 12.

She said everyone at the school has been wonderful to her since her cancer diagnosis.

“They have been very supportive,” she said.

Sixth grader Robby Akers spoke for his fellow students when he said he was happy to help.

“It feels really good,” he said.

And for their reward, Greenwood has scheduled a return visit to the school on April 10.