WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Students at Harry Russell Elementary School more than doubled their goal for their “Change for a Change” fundraiser, and as a reward, the school hosted a pajama day with some teachers making good on their fundraising bets.
“I know when the kids came in today they were like ‘what’s going on here?'” laughs fifth grade teacher Michael Downing, dressed in a bear onesie.
He was joined by fellow teacher and intervention specialist Carol Carrier who wore a monkey onesie and principal Brad Thobe in a panda suit.
“I thought he looked very silly,” says fourth grader Braylen Collins, sporting a koala mask.
Braylen was one of the students who donated to the cause.
“When teachers are in animal onesies, I feel less embarrassed,” says second grader Evie Dugger, dressed in her rainbow unicorn onesie. “I thought he looked cute as a panda.”
A couple weeks ago, the fifth grade class started the “Change for a Change” campaign, collecting money for the World Wildlife Fund after researching endangered animals.
“I had friends and family members and church members donate to the cause,” says Mr. Thobe.
The fifth grade’s goal was to raise $500, and the school could have a pajama day.
Students who donated were entered into a raffle for prizes, and some staff members added to the incentive.
“If we went $100 over I would wear an animal onesie,” says Mrs. Carrier. “If we went $200 over, Mr. Downing would join me. And $300 over we could get Mr. Thobe into an animal suit.”
“I’m feeling pretty cozy because if you ask my family, the instant I go home I’m getting PJ pants on and a comfortable shirt–so not to this extent,” says Mr. Thobe who traded in his typical suit for a panda one, although he admits it was slightly out of his comfort zone.
The students exceeded all goals, raising $1,173, with the two teachers and principal delivering on their promises.
“It just blew me away,” says Mr. Thobe.
“I donated my tooth fairy money,” says third grader Aubrey Curtner. “I felt like I had a lot, and so I decided to give some to the school.”
“We like to have a good time. That’s what teaching is about. There is the learning aspect, but if you’re having fun doing your job it doesn’t seem like you’re just teaching,” says Mr. Downing.