Crazy hats honor fellow sixth grader
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Sometimes it's nice to know that someone cares.
And that's exactly what students at Brandywine Elementary School did on Friday when they had Hat Day to raise money for Kyle Roush, one of the school's sixth graders.
Carol Christener, Roush's teacher, said Roush, who is paralyzed from his waist down, has had complications with his health this fall.
At the end of school on Friday, Christener said the students had contributed more than $400 to Roush and his family.
Each student paid $1 to wear a hat at school, and the students had their individual pictures, as well as group pictures taken.
Colorful hats in all shapes and sizes filled the school lobby as the students lined up to get immortalized for Roush's sake.
It was Christener's job to bring the pictures -- that were taken with a digital camera and printed out at the school -- to Roush at his home.
In her 30-plus years of teaching, Christener said she has never met a student who has managed to keep a positive attitude despite tough times.
Brenda Weisman has been Roush's teacher aide for the last four years.
She said Roush knew the students were having a Hat Day for his benefit.
Kyle King, a sixth grader, said it was "cool" to wear a hat at school on Friday.
And, he thinks it was a great idea to have a benefit for his fellow student.
King said he donated some of his own birthday money to Roush.
Scott Saddison also donated money.
Although he received some of the money he donated from his father, Saddison also donated money he received from his parents for cleaning up his own room. Lauren Adame, also a sixth grader, hopes the amount raised on Friday will help the Roush family.
On Oct. 22, the Galaxy Roller Rink on Ontario Road in Niles Township was the venue for a benefit that raised money for Roush and his family.
Gary Spiess, Brandywine Elementary principal, said the benefit was a success and raised more than $4,000.
Spiess said a section of the wall in the school's lobby will be filled with pictures of the students wearing hats.
Before getting ready to bring the pictures to her student, Christener said she was glad to see so many students participate in the fundraiser.
She estimated approximately 85 percent of the students wore hats at school on Friday.
And, she seemed to like the variety of hats that the students were wearing.