SPRINGFIELD TWP.  Paula Murphy’s first grade class at Young Elementary School spearheaded a very successful fundraising campaign for Akron Children’s Hospital.

Murphy's classes have been getting involved in the hospital's annual Have a Heart fundraiser for several years, and this year was no different.

The students organized fundraisers with the help of third grade leaders to earn money to donate to the Have a Heart program. First-grader Jaxon Siegferth said the students paid money to wear pajamas one day and then they had a sports theme day.

"Kids paid to wear their favorite team wear, like Browns, Cavs and Indians gear," he said.

Jaxon said he wore LeBron shoes. First-grader Lillyana Petty said she wore Akron RubberDucks gear.

The first graders also decorated the school’s showcase and sold hearts and links to help fill the showcase with color.

Murphy said in keeping with the school’s Seven Healthy Habits Leadership program, Leader in Me, the students ran the fundraiser with help from the third grade leaders. She said they have had some great leaders working on the event. The students presented their fundraising ideas at a Town Hall meeting during the school day. They proudly said they did the whole event "with no adult help." They were working together with the third grade leaders using Healthy Habit number six: Synergize - Together is Better.

Petty explained they were collecting money for children’s hospital "to be nice."

"It will help children pay for their lunch and stuff," she said.

At the end of the week, the students said they were going to get on a bus and visit Children’s Hospital, along with their pen pals from Larry Murphy’s Career Based Intervention class at Springfield High School.

Kayliegh Edman, a first grader, said they are collecting money to "help kids get in to Children’s Hospital."

The students learned that 200 kids came by helicopter to Children’s Hospital in 2017, and it performed 17,000 surgeries. First-grader Savannah Sullivan said she was glad to help people afford to pay for surgeries. 

"Not only kids go to Children’s Hospital but also adults that have bad burns," she said.

The Have a Heart program was a 2018 Radioathon and was broadcast live on 98.1 KDD.

The Young students raised $856.01.

Murphy said the kids really enjoyed the trip and were live on the radio. The students were excited that they were going to be famous, a story in the newspaper and on the radio. They wore special T-shirts that day that read "Springfield Leaders".

"We are already looking for ways to raise money for next year," Murphy said.