Rucker Elementary students in the Prosper ISD set a goal to raise $3,500 to donate to the American Diabetes Association as a show of support for two classmates with Type 1 Diabetes.

As excitement for the project grew, so did the donations -- which ended up surpassing the goal four times over.

The elementary students "were so motivated to take ownership for helping find a cure for diabetes that they raised $14,105.95 to contribute to diabetes research," said Jeni Maxton, a Rucker Elementary physical education teacher and organizer of the first school-wide Walk for Diabetes.

"The kids jumped on board to rally behind two students we have with Type 1 Diabetes," Maxton said. "One student spoke to his classmates at a school-wide assembly to kick off the fund-raising efforts and was truly an inspiration."

Rucker Principal Shelly Enloe thanked Maxton for organizing the event, crediting the P.E. teacher's enthusiasm as "the very reason behind the success we experienced with the fundraising." 

Maxton said it was fun to see all the creative ways the kids devised to raise funds.

Perhaps the most unique fund raiser was first-grader Abby Taylor, who set up a lemonade stand in her neighborhood and sold cups of lemonade for 50 cents each. The first-grader raised $80 to contribute -- meaning she sold 160 cups of lemonade.

Rucker’s top fund raiser was fourth-grader Grace DuBois, who contributed $703.

"The kids are Rucker are unbelievable -- truly an inspiration to us all," Maxton said.

As part of the effort, Rucker students also spent two weeks learning about and spreading awareness about diabetes, a disease that affects 26 million Americans. Some of what they learned is that each donation of $1,000 will fund one day of diabetes research.

Earlier this month, students walked for 30 minutes in honor of other children, family and friends who are impacted by the disease. Rucker teachers jumped on the bandwagon as well, letting students who raised more than $50 in donations throw pies at the teachers' faces or fling water balloons at them at the Celebration Rally.

While the Celebration Rally was a blast, Maxton said, the fundraising event "was a humbling experience to see the compassionate hearts of children at work making a difference in the world."