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Cedar Heights fundraiser organizers

Cedar Heights Elementary School fourth-graders, from left, Zolen Terry, Ben Kenkel and Kaydin Jones organized a fundraiser for the family of two young fire victims.

COURTESY PHOTO

CEDAR FALLS — A trio of Cedar Heights Elementary School fourth-graders used their classmates’ love of candy to raise nearly $1,400 for the family of two children who died in a fire a month ago.

Zolen Terry, Ben Kenkel and Kaydin Jones organized a fundraiser that allowed students to bring candy to school April 4 and eat it in class. All they had to do was pay $1.50.

The money benefited the family of 9-year-old Amari Burkett and 5-year-old Ava Everman. The children died in a March 15 fire at their Waterloo home that also claimed the life of their mother, Amber Everman. The two children were students at Orchard Hill Elementary School in Cedar Falls.

“I actually knew the kids,” said Terry. They went to the same day care center as him. “They were my friends.”

While Terry was upset about his friends’ deaths, he started thinking about how to help their family and came up with the idea of holding a fundraiser at school.

“I was thinking if I had some friends it would be easier,” he recalled. So he recruited Kenkel and Jones to the effort. They talked to the school counselor and principal about the plan. Kenkel created a power point to about the fundraiser for students and staff.

“We put it the week after Easter so everybody would have the candy,” said Kenkel.

“Our goal was $1,000,” added Jones, with the $1.50 donations. “If you wanted, you could donate a little more.”

The total raised was $1,390.

The boys are interested in organizing other fundraisers in the future.

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Waterloo Schools / HCC Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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