Whether it’s Halloween décor, holiday pies or ghoulish jack-o-lanterns – pumpkins are a traditional favorite for children and their families in the fall. For Teague Elementary, pumpkins are also a way to give back to those in need.
The school came together for their third annual pumpkin decorating contest, in which students and their families created pumpkins based on storybook characters that they donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities in Houston.
Each homeroom teacher was tasked with selecting a children’s book for their class that the pumpkins were based on, then put on display for judging. The students and staff were asked to vote on their favorite pumpkin by donating loose change to put in a jar. The heaviest jar was the winner. At the end of the contest, the pumpkins and donations are given to families at RMHC Houston.
The event has grown exponentially over the years, starting with 35 pumpkins the first year to 100 this year.
“This year the event just blossomed,” said Valorie Morris, Teague principal. “The students, parents and staff truly enjoy coming together each year in support of this cause. It keeps getting bigger and better each year. I am so proud of everyone for their contributions."
Morris, a front desk volunteer at RMHC Houston for 11 years, was filled with joy when she saw the looks on the faces of the children who received the pumpkins.
“Each family gets to take a pumpkin with them and the book becomes part of their library,” Morris said. “When we delivered the books and the pumpkins, the kids’ faces just lit up. It was such a gratifying feeling.”
The school raised nearly $2,500 towards a sponsorship for Trafigura Foundation’s Run for the House. The global trading business partner will match every gift made toward the run, increasing Teague’s donation to $5,000 for RMHC.
“We are so excited because we will be the only elementary school at the run that will be recognized as a sponsor,” Morris said.
Morris hopes this inspires more campuses to jump on board with the idea next year.
“The idea has already caught on,” she said. “I am hopeful that others will be encouraged to start a pumpkin fundraiser next year.”
Fisher, Genoa, Sparks and Kendrick have also started pumpkin fundraisers at their campuses.