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Cookies for a cause

Heather Good, a teacher from Discovery Middle School, brought her 1-year-old daughter Etta to "Cookies for a Cause." (Abel Mehari / Echo Press)1 / 3
Alexis Zachasia, 15, watches over candy and holiday mugs that were given away in special drawings. (Abel Mehari / Echo Press)2 / 3
Morgan Sanow (seated) took money at the "Cookies for a Cause" event, a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (Abel Mehari / Echo Press) 3 / 3

Students from English class at Alexandria Area High School hosted their first holiday cookie decorating event on Monday night.

The event, which is called "Cookies for a Cause," was coordinated by students from the English department and sponsored by Cub Foods.

Kallie Grote, who teaches English in the high school, said that the idea for the event was from a class unit called "Culture of Caring."

"We are trying to teach the students that it is important to care about others and help those in need," Grote said. "They become changemakers within our society by helping others."

Freshmen students Emma Blashan and Marissa Hopper are members of the English unit. They got the idea for the fundraiser after the class read a memoir called the "Glass Castle," by Jeannette Walls. The memoir tells about the writer's abusive life at the hands of her father and living in his rat-infested house when she was 7. After reading it, students then completed projects related to the book.

"In my project, I explained that the kids (in the book) were not able to receive medical care," Blashan said. "I thought that it would be cool to do a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, so I thought we could create this event, and it's been fun."

The event raised $360 for St. Jude's.

Visitors were greeted with free cookies, frosting and decorations donated by Cub Foods, which also donated $100 in gift cards. Guests who attended the event also participated in a drawing where winners earned small holiday candy baskets.

"We're so grateful that Cub did all of this for us," Hopper said. "They even want to make this event an annual thing, which is extremely exciting."

Blashan has learned through running the event about helping people who are desperately in need.

"It may not be the biggest thing in the world, but it does something for someone," she said. "Making that choice is what makes me happy."

Hopper said that events such as these brings awareness to the cause of donating for sick children.

"When we do these events like this, it really brings a community together," she said. "Because this bring together love and joy to people's faces."

Abel Mehari

Abel Mehari is a news reporter for the Echo Press. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he represented the Special Olympics United States basketball team for the 2015 World Games. In 2017 he earned an ESPY award for his contributions to Special Olympics MN and for expressing his life story through basketball.

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