School Spotlight: Hartford School
JDRF is excited to shine the Kids Walk School Spotlight on Hartford School in Mount Laurel, NJ. Hartford is home to almost 1,000 fifth- and sixth-grade students, and this school year will mark the fifth year that the school has participated in the JDRF Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes Program. The bond between Hartford School and JDRF was formed during the 2008-09 school year, when there were seven students with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the school. Since that first year, nearly $40,000 has been raised by Hartford students, staff, and families to support JDRF in its goal to find a cure, better treatments, and prevention for T1D!
"The most amazing thing about Hartford is that everyone knows that their donation—big or small—will make an impact, and that gets them excited about working toward their goal," says Dana Gold, JDRF’s Kids Walk Coordinator. Each year, Hartford principal Steven Bollar sets a goal for his school and offers up some motivation for students and staff, which usually comes in the form of humiliation for him and his team of administrators. This June, the excitement was at an all-time high as students learned that they had exceeded their fundraising goal of $10,000, which meant that they would get to see their six-foot, seven-inchtall principal in a woman’s dress and blonde wig! In addition to the collective goal, which motivates each and every student to get involved, top fundraising homerooms received special parties, and top fundraising students earned the opportunity to cover their vice principals in silly string or throw a pie in Principal Bollar’s face!
For Principal Bollar, making sure that the impact of the JDRF Kids Walk Program extends past the classroom is key. “Teaching the students the significance of giving back and supporting a worthy cause is vitally important. It is a life lesson that goes beyond the curriculum. If all I have to do is wear a dress and take a pie in the face to improve the lives of others and work toward finding a cure, that is the least that I can do,” he says.
Reaching such high goals to support T1D research is no easy feat, and Hartford nurse Carolyn Brennan and her dedicated team in the Health Office work hard behind the scenes to help ensure success. From recruiting students to make creative posters to raise awareness and promote the fundraising campaign, to helping students with T1D prepare to share their stories during an all-school Kick-Off Assembly, to tracking results leading up to Walk day, Nurse Brennan and her team are always willing to take the extra step for JDRF.
The leadership of Principal Bollar, the support of Nurse Brennan and the Health Office staff, and the commitment of the students and staff at Hartford to work hard and reach their goals all combine to create a winning plan year after year. For one month out of each school year, Hartford School places huge emphasis on helping those in need by supporting JDRF, and their continued efforts are making a noted impact. Thank you, Hartford School!