Students joining middle schoolers' cause to fundraise to fight cancer

Fundraiser will cause staff member to kiss a pig

Tim Barnum
Kassidy Bell and Jesse Arquette pose for a photo with a poster promoting their fundraiser.

STANDISH — Sixth-grader Kassidy Bell and eighth-grader Jesse Arquette both got involved with Arenac County Relay For Life to honor Krystal Arquette, who died from cancer in 2007, but all of Standish-Sterling Middle School is joining their cause.

Jesse, who is Krystal’s son, said three jars are put out in the SSMS commons during lunch each day, with one jar representing Principal Gary Roper, and a jar each for teachers Tom Murray and Matt Prout. And whichever one of those staff members’ jars receives the most donations will have to pucker up with a pig.

“The person who has the most money donated in their jar has to kiss a pig,” Jesse said.

Kassidy, who is Krystal’s granddaughter, said they were brainstorming for ways to get more students involved with the fight against cancer and felt the pig-kissing incentive would be a good incentive.

“We were coming up with ideas for our school to raise money, and we thought it was going to be fun to have a pig come in and have people kiss the pig,” she said.

Kassidy and Jesse may have recruited their classmates to help them raise money, but Roper said they have been well-organized and strong leaders in conducting the fundraiser.

“It’s their idea. They’ve done all the leg work,” he said. “They chose the cause, and they’re 100 percent behind the effort for the cause.”

Roper said he has never kissed a pig, and he does not feel he will be the unlucky one when the fundraiser comes to a close.

“I have no plans to, either,” he said. “We know Mr. Murray is going to be the one to kiss the pig.”

Murray seems to think otherwise.

“I don’t think I will be kissing the pig, but I don’t know,” he said. “I’m hoping I won’t be, but we’ll see.”

According to Murray, Roper is trying to drum up support against him, but he does not think it will work.

“He’s trying to rig it, but it’s really going to be him,” Murray said.

Like his fellow potential pig-kissers, Prout said he is campaigning to get students to donate in Murray’s and Roper’s jars.

“I’m definitely talking to them and telling them, ‘Boy, you sure do want to see those guys instead of me. You don’t want your favorite teacher to kiss a pig, do you?’” he said.

Jesse, who lives in Sterling, said there is no set amount they hope to raise with the kiss-the-pig contest, but they just hope students and their parents are willing supporters of the cause.

Kassidy, of Standish, added that she hopes they can raise whatever is necessary to help find a cure for cancer.

The students need support from the community in a short amount of time, Jesse said, since the fundraiser just started May 27 and will end Thursday, June 5.

“When we started up there wasn’t much time left, so this is pretty much the big one for us,” he said.

Kassidy said the she and other students have also taken donations during a car show, done concessions for Relay For Life and helped organize a bake sale.

While most of the donations are expected to come from parents and students, Roper said community members can stop into SSMS to make a donation. He said he has already seen interest from community members.

“I had one bus owner who told me he would give me a blank check so that Mr. Murray kisses that pig,” he said.

For more information on the fundraiser, or to donate, contact the middle school at 989-846-4526.


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