Dillard Street class raises hundreds for teacher's daughter


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  • | 7:00 a.m. June 4, 2015
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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WINTER GARDEN — It was a relatively typical day in Megan Boyd’s fifth-grade class March 13 at Dillard Street Elementary School.

Boyd’s students were reading a passage about women’s suffrage and the history of women’s rights, which prompted one of her students to ask a question, she said.

“Doesn’t Mrs. Stalvey’s daughter have a girl disease?” the student asked.

Boyd explained Tiffany Stalvey, a math resource teacher for grades three, four and five at Dillard, has a daughter, Gracie, with Rett syndrome, a rare postnatal neurological disorder of the gray matter of the brain that results from a gene mutation involving an X chromosome. In infancy, those with Rett syndrome often undergo developmental challenges, such as issues with hand use and breathing, often leading to scoliosis, growth failure and many symptoms similar to people with autism.

 

 

This syndrome has a reputation as a “girl disease” because male fetuses rarely survive to term and even less frequently live more than two years, whereas a female has an un-mutated other X chromosome that can provide required proteins and slow disease development. It occurs in one of about 10,000 live female births, with the potential to live 40 years or more.

“After researching the disease, my students wanted to have a fundraiser to help support Rett research,” Boyd said. “They created a proposal that I emailed to our administration. I decided to wait until we were finished with FSA testing before putting the project to fruition.”

Principal Katie Boyd and Assistant Principal Carl Sousa received a letter from Megan Boyd’s class and an invitation to witness the class’s April 24 presentation on why the school should have a fundraiser for Gracie, Megan Boyd said.

“Many of the students have seen and met Gracie at school events,” Tiffany Stalvey said. “This class took it upon themselves to read about Rett syndrome and felt moved to action. They came up with a plan to raise awareness and funds for a Rett Syndrome nonprofit organization called Girl Power 2 Cure.”

When the class received approval from the administration, students informed the school about the fundraiser on the morning announcements, Megan Boyd said. Her students collected water bottles and provided one to each class to put spare change in, dubbing their three-week campaign “Pennies for Purple” with posters around the school, she said.

“Periodically, my students would speak on the announcements or email the staff updates,” Megan Boyd said. “As money came in, the students were responsible for counting and sorting the change. The bank had to send the money away to be counted.”

Megan Boyd and Tiffany Stalvey believe their students raised at least $600 May 1-22 and are pleased with their efforts and accomplishments.

“I am very proud of my students and their determination to help others,” Megan Boyd said. “By organizing this great fundraiser, I know they are going to grow up to continue to change the world.”

To learn more about Rett syndrome and Girl Power 2 Cure, visit girlpower2cure.org/Home.aspx.

To see the video of Megan Boyd’s class proposing its fundraiser to Dillard Street Elementary School administrators, visit wotimes.com.

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].