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After Successful Fundraising Efforts West Patent Elementary School Principal Dyes Her Hair Purple

Judy Brewster wears a cowboy hat while she enters with Kit Last week, West Patent Elementary School’s principal Judy Brewster walked into a cafetorium full of excited students. She had a cowboy hat pulled low over her head and was accompanied by the school’s mascot, Kit. She slowly lifted the hat, revealing purple hair that absolutely delighted her students, who responded with giggles, gasps and cheers.

The principal’s surprise hair color was a prize earned by students during a West Patent Elementary School Association (WPESA) fundraiser that culminated in the school’s first-ever Fun Run. The goal: to raise enough money to add a Maplewoodshop enrichment program that will bring woodworking to the school.

“I have some really, really good news I want to share with you,” Brewster said to the enthusiastic students. “You were amazing at the Fun Run. You worked really, really hard to get pledges. In fact, you got so many pledges that WPESA is definitely able to get us the woodworking. What a great way to start the year!”

Students and staff alike cheered at the announcement, which will bring more hands-on STEAM opportunities to the elementary school.

The fundraiser incorporated a character education program that got students eager to participate. Each day, students watched short videos taking place in the Wild West where they helped a group of friends win character duels against Bully Malone and his No-Good Gang. In the process, they learned about traits like honesty, gratitude, generosity, kindness, and humility. Students also got pledges online from friends and family all over the country. The Fun Run took place at the end of the nine-day fundraiser.

“We had a lot of fun,” Brewster said. “It was like a mini-field day at the beginning of the year. It brought us all together.”

Judy Brewster dyes hair purple Judy Brewster removes hat to reveal purple hair

The Fun Run was a thirty-minute run on the blacktop — though students could walk and there were frequent stops for things like dancing and doing the limbo. Combining character education and physical education, the fundraiser was better than anyone anticipated.

“Every day there were messages on the loud speaker — there was a lot of activity,” Brewster explained. “One of the incentives was that if they raised $6000, I would dye my hair. They raised the $6000 early on. All week students were trying to figure out what color it would be.

The second incentive was that everyone gets extra recess. They earned that too.”

Like the rest of the school, Brewster is ecstatic to see Maplewoodshop come to West Patent. The company will train teachers how to use the kit, which is a portable, lockable toolbox that includes tools specifically made for kids.

Brewster likes the fact that Maplewoodshop will give students STEAM opportunities without the use of computer technology.

“We’re trying to bring it back a little bit,” she said. “We have a big sustainability push this year and gardening is big here. We do a lot where kids are working with their hands, so this felt like a really natural thing for our school.”

Brewster expects to be able to start using the woodworking kit in January, when older grades will use it in art enrichment classes.

“Because it’s on wheels,” she said, “it can go from classroom to classroom so eventually it can be used with the fourth grade Colonial crafts. Later, we’ll start to integrate it in all different ways so that all of the students get to use it. It’s very exciting.”

Judy Brewster talks to students