Class Act: Hunting for a Cure

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By WSIL Manager

MT. VERNON -- A girl in Jefferson County recently learned she has cancer.  Macie Bechtel started treatment right before her 11th birthday. Now her classmates and friends at St. Mary School in Mt. Vernon have come up with a unique way to show their support.

 
There's more facial hair than you might expect to find in a fifth grade class room, but these students in Miss McKay's class are dressed like Duck Dynasty characters for a special reason.  They're friend Macie has osetosarcoma in her leg.
 
"Macie loves the show Duck Dynasty, so we all thought we could come and dress like Duck Dynasty and show our support for her.  We all miss her and she's very important to all of us," said classmate Carson Prost.
 
Students aren't just showing their support by dressing the part. They are raising money to help pay for apps for Macie's tablet so they can communicate while she's out of school for treatments which happen in St. Louis. They recently sent her a basket a goodies to help lift Macie's spirits.
 
"I think she deserved it and she was surprised.  She liked the basket we sent," said 5th grader Krystal Akes.
 
Macie's sister Leah says it's been an emotional time for the family.
 
"It's been overwhelming.  This is her first year here.  The response has been overwhelming.  We are very touched, a lot of thoughtfulness," said Leah.
 
A recent fundraiser was capped off with several battles in an inflated dome. Teachers and students got a chance to show off, with Macie front and center to watch. This small Mt. Vernon school collected more than $1,300.
 
"They have been bringing so much money.  They've done extra chores around the house to bring in their allowance.  Kids bringing in 26 cents and so excited.  Exciting and fun time," said teacher Michelle Gaede.
 
Carson added, "My mom gave me $20 at the beginning of the week and I got money from my own wallet too."
 
Gaede says this is nothing new for students.  They participate in monthly outreach programs in the community.
 
 "Now it's one of our own school family that needs our assistance and our help and our prayers.  We're teaching them life lessons here.  We've got great test scores, sports, but this is what really counts.  Teaching them to care for one another and their community."
 
Students are also selling "Hunting for a Cure" bracelets for Macie too.
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