Located in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude Hospital is one of the world's leading facilities in battling childhood cancer.
"It was extremely successful," said Zoe Constantinides, math-a-thon coordinator for Hudson School. "We're very proud of our students for their hard work, and the generosity of all the donors."
Constantinides coordinates the annual math-a-thon in memory of her son Stan, who was a student at Hudson School and tragically died in a car accident some years ago.
Through the math-a-thon, students collect donations on pledges given to them by friends, family and neighbors for every math problem they correctly solve.
"We have been doing this several years for St. Jude Hospital, and this year our children collected over $6,000," said Dr. Fran Levy, principal. "The children are the amazing ones with the sympathy and empathy they show [for these ill kids]."
Hudson School has been participating in the annual math-a-thon since 1995. Since then, they have collected over $40,400 for St. Jude Hospital.
"Last year we exceeded our goal of raising an overall total of $40,000 [for St. Jude], and now we have gone beyond that," said Constantinides. "We have already started [planning] for the next year with the hospital."
Working for a cure
Founded by the late comedian Danny Thomas, St Jude Children's Research Hospital is an international pioneer in finding cures to save children with cancer and other life threatening diseases.
According to the hospital, records indicate that children's cancer now have an almost 90 percent chance of survival. Initially, the survival rate was about 5 percent. Thanks to the financial support of its fund-raising organization ALSAC, families never pay out-of-pocket for treatments not covered by insurance. In addition, families without insurance are never asked to pay.
Last April, Constantinides received a letter from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on behalf of Marlo Thomas, Danny's daughter, congratulating Hudson School on their success in raising $6,478.85 through the annual math-a-thon.
"Thank you for making your event such a wonderful success," wrote Thomas. "Your leadership made all the difference. I thank you for reaching out to help our desperately ill children."
The school will also receive additional matching funds from companies to add to that total.
Last Friday, the student community of Hudson School enjoyed an end of the year celebration with an in-house academic award ceremony. The math-a-thon's top fundraisers were also given prizes for their participation, which included complimentary passes to Six Flags Great Adventure.
The math-a-thon is sponsored by Six Flags Theme Parks, which provide free passes to their parks for every student raising $35 or more through the program.
And for the third year in a row, student Rafael Falabella, now in third grade, managed to raise the most money for the math-a-thon with a total of $800.
"I'm very proud of him," said Janet Vega, Rafael's mother. "He has always been a child that cares about others. He told me he wanted to help the sick kids who couldn't do what he could do."
"I'm proud to save people in the hospital," said Rafael, 9.
Following with the second highest donation was kindergartener Jafili Fernandez, who raised about $500 for the hospital.
"She told that she wanted to help the kids and that they were special," said Iliana Fernandez, Jafili's mother and whose younger son suffers from epilepsy. "She wrote a letter to the employees at my job explaining that we need to help these special children like her brother."
The math-a-thon was first introduced at Hudson School by then Principal Bosnido Perez in 1995, and has become a tradition carried on by former Principal Sylvia Abbato, and current Principal Levy.
"Without their support I would not be able to do this," said Constantinides. "As long as I'm around I will continue to do this." Jessica Rosero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Helping out Rafael this year was little brother Jalen Vega, 5, who is gearing up for his own try at the math-a-thon next year.