For a bunch of 10-year-olds, Lori Jakimiak's fourth-graders are pretty composed when talking about heavy subjects like death and pediatric illness.
Then again, the Alex's Lemonade Stand fundraisers have a way of bringing that out of people.
The popular nonprofit foundation, begun in memory of the late Alexandra Scott, who died at age eight of neuroblastoma, hosts annual bake sales and lemonade stands to fundraise for pediatric cancer research.
In a single school day, the school and community raised $455 in donations for the charity.
(UPDATE: 3:35 a.m. Friday, June 15, 2012 - Principal Thomas Santo notified Patch that the final total, initially reported as $425, was actually $455.)
Jakimiak says that not only did the idea teach the students some valuable lessons, but it also served as an extension of their age-appropriate reading curriculum.
"We are doing reading workshop this year, and when we read the book Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand, they were all inspired," Jakimiak says.
A show of hands in her classroom indicated that nearly everyone in attendance knew or knew of someone battling cancer, which only underscores that fact that they were so well-prepared to discuss the tough topic.
"Some of them had family members that have passed away," Jakimiak says. "It is hard."
But their responses were moving. Amanda Yeager made yellow hair bows for her classmates to wear. Brendan Rodgers brought in lemon-shaped silly bandz. Many others made donations to the cause, or spoke about what they had learned of the disease in reading the story.
Ray Albano said he'd learned about "serving people and raising money." His classmate, Nick, said he learned that "cancer is not contagious; it just happens." Evelyn Fowler said she learned that cancer keeps people from leading normal lives.
"I had kids bring in $5, $10, $20," Jakimiak says, "from their banks, from their birthday money.
"They all wanted to help," she says.