Marmaduke Schools Effort Receives National Attention

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Marmaduke's Kendra Street plays with kindergartners in her class during center time.(TD photo/Jessica Rainwater)

The NEA chapter of Make-A-Wish and the Marmaduke School District were featured this month on 60 Minutes and since then an outpouring of heartfelt emails and $5,800 in donations have been sent to kindergarten teacher Kendra Street and principal Bill Muse in the aftermath of the segment.

"A donor in New York sent $5,000 in honor of Marmaduke School," Street said. "One donor from Lake Oswego, Ore., wrote they normally donated to the Portland chapter, but wanted the Marmaduke school kids to receive the credit for their donation after watching the segment."

The segment highlighted the extraordinary lengths the school goes to each year to be able to grant wishes for NEA children. Street was a Make-A-Wish kid diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 17. The foundation granted her wish to meet the Atlanta Braves, but Street would give her wish back to allow another child's wish to be granted, she told 60 Minutes.

Street went through eight rounds of chemotherapy and 34 rounds of radiation before her cancer went into remission. Since then she has been active in granting wishes throughout NEA, along with the school, making the granting a community effort.

"Our student council is the fundraising chair and the whole school is involved in granting the wishes," Street said. "We grant at least one, but sometimes two wishes a year. Each granting is tailored to the child's interests."

In February, the elementary and preschool participate in a change drive. On Monday students bring pennies, Tuesday nickels, Wednesday dimes, Thursday quarters and Friday dollars. "In 2014 the students raised $5,000 from just the change drive," Street said.

Also in 2014 one class alone raised $1,200. There was a competition for a party, and when asked what kind of party they wanted, one student replied "It doesn't matter what kind of party, it's about raising the money," Street said. All money goes into the NEA Make-A-Wish.

The latter is exactly what mentors and teachers at Marmaduke are trying to accomplish. "It takes teachers to show them the way," principal Bill Muse said. "We must teach them to be productive and caring citizens who actually take ownership in the world around them."

Marmaduke children are involved in many causes from the Susan G. Komen foundation to the Special Olympics and others in between; the students go outside of the school to get involved and help others. "Our seniors have been involved with Make-A-Wish since the second grade doing change drives," Muse said. "Once they get into it they keep going; they care and understand because it is so much a part of our school."

The overall reason for the 60 Minutes segment was to draw people to the Make-A-Wish cause, to get people interested and involved. Street is confident it has been a success. "When you send away two producers and cameramen who want to know how to get involved with the New York chapter, you know it was a success," she said.

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