Eleven-year-old Jaimey Hamilton doesn’t want to hear another word out of her principal Julia Sihota. Students at Hans Helgesen elementary school taped their principal and vice principal to the flag pole on March 18. The public taping was a reward for a fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Duct-taped for charity

Hans Helgesen administrators get creative with fundraising incentives

It was every deliquent student’s dream.

Armed with duct tape and bit of power, Hans Helgesen elementary students secured their principal Julia Sihota and vice-principal Sue Tonnesen to the school flagpole on Friday.

Distributing the joy, each student was given a strip of coloured tape and within minutes the two women couldn’t go anywhere. The last piece of tape was pressed over Sihota’s mouth by Grade 6 student Jaimey Hamilton.

This wasn’t a coup d’état, but an incentive by the two administrators to fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Sihota announced at an assembly that if the students could raise $1,000, she would let the kids duct tape her to the flag pole. When they doubled that total, Tonnesen agreed she too would subject herself to the mob.

Hans Helgesen students raised more than $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with its Pennies for Patients campaign. Each year the school fundraises for the cause and usually tallies between $500 and $1,000.

“It’s exploded beyond my wildest expectations,” Sihota said.

This year the campaign had special meaning for the school. Hamilton, 11, has been battling leukemia for almost half her life. “It feels really good for all the work that goes into this,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton is still undergoing chemotherapy at the Victoria General Hospital every three to six months.

“I am done going to Vancouver (BC Children’s Hospital) where they did the hard stuff,” she said. “My immune system is good and I’ve been at school a lot lately. Whenever I am sick and stuck at home I am always sad.”

Hamilton’s class starting the fundraising drives and created incentives for other students to get involved. The Grade 5/6 class decided if the school raised $400, students would receive double recess for a day and at $600 some teachers would dye their hair.

At $800, one student would get to be “principal for a day.” Free to unilaterally wield power, Grade 1 winner Evan Cowan instituted a regime of double recess, pajama day and bringing in a stuffed toy.

Hamilton’s class also created paper-mâché piggy banks to raise money. The students sold them in an auction at the Metchosin Community House and one sold for $300. Sihota forked over $100 to get her hands on the Hamilton’s pig. The piggy bank auction brought in $2,800.

“My brother-in-law died at 19 from leukemia,” Sihota said. “I’ll do anything to raise as much money as I can.”



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