Second graders raise $380 for HuskyTHON, with help from Neag School


HuskyTHON 2015 participants are seen in the Hugh S. Greer Field House in March 2015. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

Second grade students at the Capitol Region Education Council’s Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School raised $380 for the University of Connecticut’s HuskyTHON with the help of interns from UConn’s Neag School of Education.

One of the goals of the school’s literacy coach, Sarah Mangiafico, was to successfully link language arts with social studies. To do so, she decided to show her 10 enrichment students how to make a difference in the lives of others.

After discussing various community service projects, the students chose to help the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.

Erin Holden and Cristina Eberhart, pre-service teaching interns who worked closely with Mangiafico and other faculty members at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School, suggested that the school hold a JonaTHON – a fundraising effort for UConn’s HuskyTHON that’s organized by kindergarten through grade 12 schools.

“Cristina and I realized that there was a natural connection between their project and HuskyTHON… I participated in HuskyTHON in 2013 and 2014 and knew that the management team had recently rolled out an initiative to include local K-12 schools in the fundraising efforts, the JonaTHONs,” Holden said.

In the end, the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School raised $380 for their cause.

Mangiafico, six of her enrichment students and their family members will attend HuskyTHON Sunday morning to present their “big check.” Holden, Eberhart and Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School principal Gayle Hills will attend as well.

“We are pleased to be partners with UConn students for this worthy project,” said Hills. “Our students have learned a great deal from their participation, and they continue to share with their peers within our school.”

During the school’s Kindness Week, the 10 students also asked their peers to create cards for patients at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Additionally, they assembled “joy kits” for patients who need to stay at the hospital for an extended period of time.

The kits include items made by students and their parents, such as soap and bead projects, along with other items, such as UConn window stickers and jars that contain daily words of encouragement. Delivery is expected next week. Not content on stopping there, the students are even helping to raise money for a new school in Kenya.

“I never imagined the possibilities this curriculum work would lead,” Mangiafico said. “I am the luckiest teacher in the world to be able to work with such amazing students, including our pre-service teacher friends from UConn. This is something our students worked on their own to achieve, and I know they will carry this memory with them forever.”

Helen Stec is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at

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