CENTER, Mo. — Just before the big homecoming parade, each classroom at Ralls County Elementary School was abuzz with activity as students got face paintings of Mark Twain logos, tiger paws and tiger spots — as students pitched in their spare change to help out a fellow Mark Twain High School student fighting two types of cancer.
Freshman Jamie-Lynn Haley was filled with joy when she received a surprise check for $1,083.08, after the students brought in donations during the school-wide morning of face painting and the following service learning week.
“I was very happy that the community is so nice, and we have so many good people in our community that they would do something just for that,” Jamie-Lynn said.
“The kids were so supportive, and they really wanted to do it. From what I've heard, I had kids coming home to their parents saying 'we need to help out,'” she said. “It's really amazing.”
Volunteers helped with face painting that included tiger paws, spots and other signs of school spirit before the parade. In Kaitlyn Willing's fifth grade classroom, her grandmother, Karyl Silvey, expressed her excitement to help out in the tight-knit school district where she had been an educator and administrator for years.
“They really are community schools,” Silvey said. Her granddaughter agreed.
“It's awesome to see everyone come together,” Willing said.
The students in Willing's class were excited to help make a difference for Jamie-Lynn. Evelyn Bickel said the experience was a fun way for everyone in the school to show their support. J.R. Henderson wanted Jamie-Lynn to know that the entire school was behind her.
“I think it's a good difference for all of us,” J.R. said. “We're trying to let her know that she doesn't have to fight alone.”
Jamie-Lynn said the outpouring of support was a welcome surprise.
“It's so nice and amazing to see the kids supporting and helping what I'm going through,” Jamie- Lynn said. “And then after school — when they gave me the big check — all I could do was just smile, because the kids really wanted to help out.”
Jamie Lynn said her treatments are going well so far, and she stressed the power of prayer and what a difference it makes every day.
“Praying really helps, and it just makes the person who's going through it feel way better,” she said.
More information about Jamie- Lynn's fight is available by searching for #FightwithJamie on Facebook.