This Teacher Brings Her Whole School Together for Red Nose Day

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When you meet Lori Wyatt, a teacher at Elm Place Middle School in Highland Park, Illinois, you realize that she’s always working to make the world a better place. And this lifelong educator isn’t stopping there. She’s also inspiring the next generation to develop the same vision and sense of empathy. That’s where Red Nose Day comes in.

“Three years ago, a student in my Reach for Change club, whose parent works for Walgreens, brought up the suggestion of raising awareness and funds for Red Nose Day,” says Lori. The club had been launched a decade earlier, and is a driving force for social good in the school. “Helping those in need, such as kids in poverty, is an issue we are compassionate about; making sure kids are safe, healthy and educated.” Red Nose Day was a perfect fit.

Lori leads her students in a Red Nose Day cheer.
Lori leads her students in a Red Nose Day cheer.

Like all great things, fundraising efforts at Elm Place started small. In 2015, teachers and students sold Red Noses and organized an assembly. Not only was the day a meaningful way to open students’ eyes to the issue of poverty; it was also incredibly fun for everybody involved. So celebrations in 2016 and 2017 were even bigger. Lori remembers that “Last year, we had a donut sale, sold Red Noses, and had an assembly.” All those activities set the stage for this year.

The gym at Elm Place Middle School.
The gym at Elm Place Middle School prepares for a Red Nose Rally

On April 9, Elm Place Middle School kicked off their biggest Red Nose Day fundraising season ever with their first Red Nose Rally. Part pep rally, part Ted Talk, a Rally is an energizing way to bring an entire school together. After an introduction that taught students about the issue of child poverty, it was time for activities and games. Students even went Nose to Nose in a Red Nose Day photo booth.

And the Red Nose Rally is just the beginning. “The students had a great time,” says Lori. “They continue to fundraise and look forward to more of the Red Nose Day fundraising events throughout the month, such as the Red Nose Spatula race, and Red Nose Baller for Dollar” among other Red Nose Day-themed games. Sounds like a party to us.

The Red Nose Rally included games to keep students moving and engaged.
The Red Nose Rally included games to keep students moving and engaged.

Of course, an event this big required many hands (and noses). “I would like to give a big shout out to Heather Schumacher, Principal of Elm Place, for organizing this day with me, to Deb Ancona, Assistant Principal, and Eunice Paniagua, Secretary, for all their help setting up, to all the teachers who supported us in and out of their classrooms, and mostly to all the students for their enthusiasm and fundraising support!”

When a compassionate community comes together to raise money for Red Nose Day, anything is possible. The students at Elm Place are working to raise $1,000 this year for kids in need. We believe in them, and we believe in you, Lori. Noses On!

P.S. Want to hold your own Red Nose Rally? We've got everything you need.