Fifth-graders at East Iredell Elementary School raised $4f20 for Rescue Ranch though a jewelry shop that they set up at their school campus.

Special to Iredell Free News

The nine fifth-grade girls in teachers Angela Arias and Shaley Holmes’ Dual Immersion class at East Iredell Elementary School share a common interest in making jewelry and giving their creations to their friends.

They use small jewelry-making rubber bands along with clay, plastic, and specialty beads to create the jewelry. This spring, they decided to put that to good use.

Alice, who is president of the girls’ company, Paper Rings Jewelry Shop, and Callie, Charley, Clara, Karalee, Loie, Michaela, Sophia, and Xiochilt made hundreds of rings, bracelets, keychains, anklets, earrings, and pencil accessories to sell. Their goal was to raise $75 for a nonprofit organization that works with animals in our community.

They chose Rescue Ranch as the recipient. Most of the girls have visited Rescue Ranch in the past and enjoyed their experiences, especially on the playground.

The girls cleared their idea with Principal Jennifer Ribbeck.

“These girls have creative young minds with limitless potential for success,” Ribbeck said. “I wanted to allow them to see what they could accomplish.”

The nine girls, who have primarily been in school together since kindergarten, divvied up duties to open their business. Some worked on manufacturing and some on advertising.

On 12 separate school days this spring, the girls opened their shop during their recess and lunch. The East faculty, staff and students were excited about the products and wanted to support the fundraising efforts.

On Monday, May 14, they closed shop and tallied their earnings. The shop raised a total of $420, which they donated to Rescue Ranch.

All remaining products were donated to the school store, which operates on a reward system sponsored by the school to recognize good behavior. Their parent advisor secretly arranged for Rescue Ranch Executive Director Michelle Hepler and Maureen Moore, the nonprofit’s director of Community Relations, Partnerships and Development, to visit the school that afternoon to accept the donation and thank the girls for their effort and contribution.

Hepler and Moore talked to the girls about being entrepreneurs and good citizens. They also invited the girls to come for a free afternoon on the playground at Rescue Ranch. 

Michaela said to her group of friends will be splitting up after the fifth-grade promotion next week to go their separate ways for middle school.

“We should be really proud of what we’ve accomplished!” she said.

East Iredell Elementary School is a Leader In Me school with Lighthouse Certification. Lighthouse schools serve as a leadership example in the community and for other schools. The focus is on teaching leadership principles, creating a leadership culture, and aligning academic systems. The school teaches the 8 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Rescue Ranch Director of Community Relations and Executive Director Michelle Hepler talk with the students at East Iredell Elementary.

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