By Kelli Gile
WALNUT, CA—Collegewood Elementary showed support for second grader Coben Swanson with 612 acts of kindness during a read-a-thon at the school on February 12.
The school quickly rallied when the eight-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia in November, sending get-well video messages and fundraising to help the family with expenses.
All 612 students and staff members came together once again during a special reading time held on the upper playground. With towels and blankets spread out on the grass, the children and their teachers opened favorite books and quietly read for about 20 minutes.
The event was the culmination of a two-week reading challenge where students were encouraged to read daily, log minutes, and collect pledges. All donations will benefit the Swanson family.
“He’s our friend and needs our help”, said Kaitlyn Tran. “We’re donating money to help his family. We miss him!”
“Coben’s going through a hard time and we should support him no matter what,” added fifth grader Cassidy Ng.
Afterward, teachers surprised the group with a pie in the face game. The children crowded around to watch their teachers get doused with whipped cream after taking turns spinning the wheel on the tabletop game.
“Acts of kindness instill empathy and teach children the value of living a life of giving,” said teacher Jane Dyer-Smith.