Winsor Hill raises record sum for Kids Heart Challenge

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Winsor Hill Elementary School students erupted like never before, when health and physical education teacher Susan Parillo revealed the results of the recent Kids Heart Challenge that annually benefits the American Heart Association.

After filing into the school’s gymnasium and being strategically seated by classes, the students chanted in unison: “$4,000 … $4,000!”

Parillo, who organized what turned out to be an extraordinary event, peeled away coverings from a set of numbers. The cheers from students – as well as teachers – kept getting louder with each white sheet she took off the Rock Climbing Wall.

Thus, when all the cards were revealed, the excitement escalated even more. Winsor Hill students had smashed their goal of $4,000 and finished the Kids Heart Challenge with a record $5,048.

All of which meant Matthew Yates, the first-year principal at the Johnston elementary school, and Matt Velino, Winsor Hill’s behavior specialist, were going to have to take a pie in the face.

Thus, the top six Winsor Hill fundraisers would have a chance to smash Yates and Velino with a pie in the face Monday afternoon prior to the close of school.

While the pies were, in fact, aluminum trays filled with shaving cream – as Parillo wanted to avoid a food mess or stains on the gym floor – it didn’t matter to kids like Brayden Garceau, Winsor Hill’s newly crowned Heart Ambassador, who single-handely raised $6,000 for the Kids Heart Challenge.

The 9-year-old third-grader hammed it up and received raucous cheers from his fellow Winsor Hill students before Velino’s face was covered with shaving cream. Cameron Regnault, the second-place finisher, followed the same routine and covered Yates’ face with the white fluffy stuff.

And those cheers didn’t stop when five other Winsor Hill students who were the highest individual fundraisers during the Kids Heart Challenge got their turn to cover the faces of both Yates and Velino with shaving cream.

Second-grader Julianna Casey placed third, third-grader Jackson Haley was fourth and fifth place went to fourth-grader Dominic Vescera and fifth-grader Clark Znoj. Each took their turn covering the two administrators’ faces with shaving cream.

“This was so exciting for the students,” Parillo said prior to announcing the school’s upcoming challenge. “We’re ready for the Leukemia-Lymphomas Society Pennies for Patients Campaign that will begin this week. If the school goal is met … Mr. Yates will sit to have his head shaved!”

When asked what the campaign’s goal is, Parillo – who doubles as the veteran head coach of Johnston High School’s champion cheerleading program – mused with a wide smile: “Stay tuned to Winsor Hill School!”

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