Union Elementary School resembled a Roman coliseum Tuesday as a gym full of children screamed, stomped their feet and demanded to see their teachersâ€™ faces covered in pie.
â€œItâ€™s better than kissing a pig,â€ said Kirby Oldham, the school principal.
Oldham agreed to take a pie in the face if the students raised over $4,000 for Relay for Life. The final total was over $6,000.
In order to have their teacher hit with a pie, the students donated change.
â€œI think the biggest thing is knowing they get to put a pie in their teacherâ€™s face,â€ said Lori Matney, who is co-chairman of the schoolâ€™s Relay for Life team along with Terrie Salmon.
The fund raiser, however, was not all fun, games and whipped cream topping. Students also understood the seriousness of cancer.
â€œIt hit home,â€ said Lydia Kannup, a fourth-grade teacher. â€œLoved ones have been touched by cancer.â€
For the schoolâ€™s biggest student fund-raiser, that loved one was his mother.
Houston Gilmore, a fourth-grade student, raised nearly $400 for the school.
â€œRight at the beginning I wanted to raise some because I wanted to let them find out how to cure it,â€ he said.
His mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer the day after September 11, 2001.
â€œWe were going to eat, and it was me, my sister and my dad, and she just told me right then,â€ said Houston.
When she began chemotherapy treatments two weeks before Houstonâ€™s birthday party, he tried to help her keep her hair.
â€œHe came in everyday after school and kissed the top of my head,â€ said Tammy Gilmore, his mother.
The kisses worked â€“ Gilmore didnâ€™t lose her hair until the day after the birthday party.
After a three year ordeal, the Gilmores no longer worry constantly about cancer. Houstonâ€™s mom has been deemed cancer free, although she still goes to the doctor for check ups.
As for Houston, he did everything he could to raise money for Relay for Life.
â€œI hope they find out how to get rid of cancer,â€ he said.
The money he raised also awarded him the honor of putting a pie tin full of whipped cream in his teacherâ€™s face.
â€œIt was the funnest thing to do to a teacher,â€ he said.
by Sarah Grano