- Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School
Kids Heart Challenge
CET Ranks Among Top in State for Kid’s Heart Challenge;
Students Rewarded for Their Effort with Opportunity to ‘Slime’ Teachers
Approximately 40,000 babies are born with congenital heart defects in the United States each
year and, each year, about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease, making it the leading
cause of death in this country. For the fifth consecutive year, Physical Education teacher
Suzanne Leslie has led the Kid’s Heart Challenge at the Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School
during February. She wants students to learn about the dangers of heart problems and the
importance of taking care of their own hearts, particularly through exercise. What’s more, Miss
Leslie leads a fundraising effort to support the American Heart Association as part of the Kid’s
Heart Challenge - an effort that CET students have embraced.
This year, 132 CET students who registered to participate in the Challenge raised an
astonishing $18,748.36 for the American Heart Association. This is on the heels of $19,156
raised in 2020. In fact, out of 969 schools that participated in the Challenge last year across
New York State, CET was the sixth highest fundraiser as of this writing. Among local counties,
CET ranked in the top three!
Clare, a fourth grade Challenge participant, says she wants to donate money to help people
with heart problems and so that more research can be done. “There are people who can’t afford
operations or to get help,” she said.
Third grader Olympia Cramer was CET’s top fundraiser this year. Other top earners in
kindergarten, first, second and fourth grades are Olivia Simao, Madelyn Scales, Owen Ferguson
and Braeden Hunter, respectively.
For her fundraising efforts, Olympia described how she took the initiative to draft an email to
family and friends, and then followed up with each person, even calling and FaceTiming
relatives - to make sure they donated. “I really wanted to win,” said Olympia. “I kept checking the
leader board to see what place I was in.”
Braeden, who was last year’s top earner, shared that he is motivated to fundraise because his
grandfather died of heart disease. “When I asked people for donations they said ‘they would be
glad to donate’ and also said ‘how great it was that someone so young was helping to save
Last year, as both an added incentive and reward for students working so hard at fundraising,
Miss Leslie introduced a unique and exciting opportunity. The top fundraiser from each grade,
kindergarten through fourth, could ‘slime’ a teacher or principal. That means pouring a large
bucket of slime over the person’s head while the entire school watches and cheers.
Unfortunately, the pandemic altered those plans last year (although the principals and teachers
did stay true to their word and shared videos of them sliming themselves!); but, today, students
were finally able to participate in this highly anticipated event!
Miss Leslie created the five buckets of slime herself and looked to the students to add some
green coloring and mix it up. At the end of a very chilly school day, three teachers - Miss Leslie,
Mrs. Horton and Mr. Duchin - along with Principal Mojica and Assistant Principal Kerri Bianchi,
gathered on CET’s front circle. Melanie Layton, a representative from the American Heart
Association was also on hand to personally congratulate CET for consistently being among the
top fundraisers in the state.
“CET has done an amazing job each year and their support means everything to us,” said Ms.
Layton. “We are so grateful for their support and applaud Miss Leslie for leading this effort.”
To the delight of the hundreds of students at the school and tuning in remotely, the sliming was
a huge success.
“It felt great!” said Owen. “I felt proud of myself for being part of this.”
Olympia, who slimed Assistant Principal Bianchi said, “I felt bad for Mrs. Bianchi, but I also felt
really good that I did this.”
After all was complete, Miss Leslie, who was still covered in slime, shared what this meant to
her: “I am so proud of these kids. Not just the top fundraisers - although they are amazing - but
of every student who participated because they understand that this is an act of kindness. They
are motivated by helping others. And we really need more acts of kindness, now more than