Robert Smalls Middle raises money for student with cancer

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comMarch 29, 2012 

Pictured is eighth grade student Kenneth Poole, front center, pictured with Stephen Kirkpatrick, from left to right, Amanda Pike, Karleene Gill, Samantha Durrett and James Lange, educators at Robert Smalls Middle School. Kenneth attended a walk-a-thon at the school where students raised money and walked around the track to show support with their former track team member.


Students and faculty at Robert Smalls Middle School are rallying around a student who is fighting cancer.

They're raising money for eighth-grader Kenneth Poole, diagnosed with bone cancer, said media center specialist Rhonda Doherty.

"He's one of our family here at Robert Smalls," Doherty said. "It's important to take care of our family."

The school has held several fundraisers this year to help the Poole family with expenses, special-education teacher Graci Finkle said.

Proceeds from a dress-down day -- in which students donate money to wear something other than their school uniforms -- were donated to Poole. Students have contributed to a penny drive, too, and Doherty said proceeds from concession sales at two recent track meets have been donated.

Finkle said the latest fundraiser is a pancake breakfast -- the second the school has organized -- from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday at Applebee's in Beaufort. Tickets are $5, and Finkle said they're hoping for a large turnout to add to the $1,200 raised for Poole so far. Attempts by the Gazette to contact the Poole family were unsuccessful.

Sixth-grade teacher Ginger Garner, who has been helping Poole keep up with his assignments, said Poole's been very appreciative of all the donations.

He was even able to come for a school walk-a-thon a few weeks ago. Students raised money and walked around the track in a show of support for the former track team member. Poole wheeled around the track in his wheelchair for a while, and a few students pushed him, Finkle said.

"He was excited to show the kids his scars from his surgery, like they were war wounds he earned," she said.

Garner said Poole has always kept his spirits up as much as he can. Even though he can't go to school for risk of infection, he's keeping up with his school work and remains a math whiz, she said.

He even came to school last week to take state standardized tests, Finkle said.

Poole is also active at Community Bible Church and is working to become an Eagle Scout, Garner said.

"He just troops through it to get his school work done," she said. "He's just remarkable. He doesn't let it faze him."

The next big thing on Poole's horizon is a trip to Hawaii. Poole's dream of visiting the islands is coming true, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

He'll travel there April 14, said Heather Pierce, a foundation spokeswoman. He'll take a cruise around the state and return April 22.

Doherty said she's been amazed and proud that so many students have been eager to help Poole and his family.

"The entire school has pulled together," she said.

Related content

  1. Make-A-Wish Foundation, S.C. Chapter
  2. Robert Smalls staff, students raise money for beloved hall monitor; Dec. 10, 2011

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