Dayton Intermediate celebrates giving with Hats on Day |

Dayton Intermediate celebrates giving with Hats on Day

Appeal Staff Writer
Participants in the Dayton Intermediate school Hats on Day fundraiser are, back row from left: Derek Jakubowski, 13; Moises Vega, 13, Bre Russell, 11; Erica McKusick, 14; Magda Landa, 13; Lorena Sanchez, 14; Kathie Arias, 13; Ericka Garcia, 14 and Joey Lescher, 14. Front row from left: Tim Taylor, 11; Adolfo Espinosa, 14; Nicky Selmi, 12; Pedro Duenas, 13 and teacher Ali Cadwell.

Dayton Intermediate School students and staff paid for the privilege of wearing a hat to school May 17-18 during Hats On Day.

Hats on Day was founded in 1994, when Kevin Beffa, a fifth-grader from Missouri was undergoing chemotheraphy. His friends hosted the first event as a way to raise their peers’ awareness about childhood cancer and the things that go with it, such as hair loss, illness and missing school. Beffa died, but Hats On Day observances continue in his memory throughout the United States, and has raised more than $100,000 since its inception.

“This is the first time, we’ve done this fund raiser and it was brought to our attention by (school principal Neal) Mr. Freitas who had received information about it in the mail,” said Dusti Houk, student council advisor. “He presented it to Ms. (Christine) Morgan (co-advisor) and myself and it seemed like a worthy cause that would also teach the kids.”

The observance raised $441 that will be donated to the Foundation for Children with Cancer, and continues Houk’s and Morgan’s commitment to teach the students about service to others and how that makes a difference. Other fund raisers included selling candy canes and providing Christmas for local children in need and Pennies for Patients which supported children with leukemia.

Each morning, student council members sold arm bands (a different color each day) to be worn in conjunction with the hats.

“Students paid $1 or more for the band and could wear their hat for the day,” Houk said. “Some staff bought bands just to support the cause.”

Hats On Day will take place again next year, Houk said.

“We hope to expand it to fall and spring next year, because we had very good student and staff participation and it is a way we can do a fund raiser where we don’t disrupt school scheduling.

“We’ll continue to have it as long as the students are willing to support it and keep it going.”

• Contact reporter Karel Ancona-Henry at or 246-4000.