OSWEGO, NY – That reindeer at the North Pole isn’t the only one with a big red nose anymore. Hundreds of Oswego elementary and middle school students donned the bulbous proboscis Thursday for a good cause.
Leighton School held its Red Nose Day to raise money for the Human Concerns Center. Oswego Middle School’s students also helped support the cause.
“The students brought in money to donate and each received a red nose to wear in exchange,” Amy Armet, PR/Literacy Specialist at Leighton Elementary, told Oswego County Today.
The students and staff gathered in the school gym for a photo – and words of praise from Principal Dr. Larry Schmiegel.
“Our school social worker, Sarah Dodd, came up with this inspiration and we have jumped on board,” Armet said. “We used our own care and concern money from here at school to purchase the noses upfront and all of the donated money will go to Human Concerns.”
All the money raised stays local, she added.
Dodd is retiring this year and this is a nice way for her to end the school year – with a big project that promotes student awareness and creates a feeling of generosity in us all, Armet added.
“I have a big red nose. It’s funny,” one young student commented. “We’re helping kids. It’s fun!”
Leighton’s principal declared May 26, 2016, officially Red Nose Day at the elementary school.
“We are pleased to say that Frederick Leighton is one of the many schools nationwide that is working hard for this good cause,” he said.
The red nose signifies laughter, he pointed out.
“The purpose is to make someone laugh. Today we come together to have fun and to put a smile on someone’s face and help those who are in need,” he said. “Today we have raised $287!”
The children and adults in the crowded gym enthusiastically applauded the announcement.
And, the children also applauded when the principal proclaimed he’d give lunch detention to any teacher the students pointed out not wearing a red nose.
“Every grade level had to choose a way to give back to the community. So this is something we did as a school-wide program,” Dr. Schmiegel told Oswego County Today. “It’s a citizenship project; getting them ready for high school when it’s a requirement.”
“Students and staff at OMS have been purchasing red noses for the last two weeks to wear today (May 26). All faculty, staff and students got together with a red nose to promote this wonderful cause. Noses were distributed during lunches and the assembly began at 1 p.m.,” said Sandy Burroughs.
“Each nose was a dollar,” said Carol Jones, assistant principal at OMS. “We’ve raised about $1,000. Plus we have received even more as just donations today. During just the lunch periods, we’ve raise more than $150 more.”
Teachers bought noses for kids and kids bought noses for other kids, she said, adding “Everybody in the building has a nose.”
“We started about a month ago. I bought 30 noses myself. What I said to the teachers was, ‘If I give you a free nose, you’ve got to buy five more and give them to the kids.’ And it just took off from there,” Jones said.
Danielle Rombough teaches grade 8 science and living environment. She and her husband, William, (of Rombough Electric) donated 350 more noses.
Red Nose Day is a big event, all around the country, the assistant principal told students.
“You are a part of it!” she said. “Besides the 750 noses that we sold, kids reached into their pockets, cafeteria staff and other adults today donated another almost $200.”
People “forget” a lot of things, she noted.
They forget they go home at night and they are safe. They forget that they have food on the table and that we have parents to take care of us, she explained.
“There are some … here, they don’t have these things. And we sometimes forget about them. I’ve seen that firsthand, I’ve lived some of those things,” Jones said. “You have to remember, this is a special day. This does not happen in a lot of places – but everyone here today has made a positive difference in some child’s life. So, give yourself a hand!”
Following the assembly, a few seventh graders stayed to face the media.
Tia Westberry said she participated in Red Nose Day to help other kids.
“There are a lot of kids who need our help,” she said.
“I wanted to support the people in need,” agreed Ashley St. John. “There is a big need.”
Lauren Garafolo echoed those sentiments.
“I wanted to help support those in need. Mrs. DiFabio bought one (red nose) for me,” she said. “I also went and I donated.”
Hailey Hollenbe also bought a nose and donated. “There are so many kids that need help. This is a good thing to do,” she said.
“You just can’t breathe through your nose with one of those (noses) on,” Halie Fantom quipped. “I only bought one nose. But I also got some other people to buy them,” she added. “I told them about it and how others needed help. So I got some more people to buy the noses.”
OMS Principal Mary Beth Fierro shared some noses with Kelly Moxley’s fifth graders at Kingsford Park Elementary School.
“Thank you for the noses! The kids feel so special, since they are the only ones in the building with the red nose,” she told Fierro.
“Our class has been talking about childhood poverty, random acts of kindness and our societal obligations. Mary Beth donated the red noses to our class,” Moxley told Oswego County Today. “We decided to wear the noses on our walking field trip to River’s End Bookstore, spreading the word ‘Seriously Silly’ while walking throughout the town. Our community did a great job explaining to people the significance of the red nose.”