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STUDENTS GET TO DITCH SCHOOL WHILE PITCHING IN TO HELP MOM

SHARE STUDENTS GET TO DITCH SCHOOL WHILE PITCHING IN TO HELP MOM

It was pay-off day at Suncrest Elementary School Wednesday. Students were allowed to ditch school in exchange for money.

But it was all in the name of service. Nanette Geist - the mother of two Suncrest students - suffers from leukemia and needs a bone transplant. Geist's insurance will cover most of her expenses, but will not cover the donor search or the actual donor expenses, which are expected to cost around $50,000.So the elementary students came up with a plan to raise money for Geist. Three boys in Beverly Miner's fifth-grade class - Shaun Alldredge, Justin Faulkner and Daniel Gibbons - decided a half-day at the movies would be rewarding for Suncrest students in more than one way.

Gibbons was especially anxious to help because his mother died of leukemia last year.

"The kids have been really excited about this. They got to miss school and help someone at the same time," said Suncrest principal Mike Pratt.

More than 650 students spent half of the school day watching movies, drinking pop and eating popcorn that was sold for 25 cents. By the end of the day, students had raised over $1,055 from donations and refreshment sales.

"When we announced during the movie that we'd gone over the $1,000 mark the students went crazy," Pratt said.

Teachers were also allowed a free half-day for a donation of $5. Other staff members at the school supervised the students.

Geist was diagnosed with leukemia on Dec. 7, 1991. She was admitted to the hospital in October and released in December. With the donations of the students and teachers, contributions to Geist total $6,462.

"It's just unbelievable. I've never realized so many people could care," Geist said of the donations from the school.