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Mustache day fundraiser buys PE shoes at Tyler Elementary

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 10:49 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 3:08 p.m. CST
(Rob Winner –
Sean Sparrow and Cate Cardella, both teachers at Tyler Elementary School in DeKalb, helped raise money to buy 21 pairs of gym shoes for students' use by selling fake mustaches. They displayed some of the shoes Tuesday.

DeKALB – “I mustache you a question, but I’ll shave it for later.”

That silly line graced posters around DeKalb’s Tyler Elementary School before holiday break as part of a mustache day fundraiser that, in turn, purchased gym shoes for student use. Not only did the staff raise enough money for 21 pairs of shoes, they had a lot of fun doing it, physical education teacher Sean Sparrow said.

“It was pretty funny seeing little kindergarteners running around with these big Tom Selleck mustaches,” Sparrow said.

The idea came from kindergarten teacher Cate Cardella, who had a mustache day in her classroom, and had fun with it.

“I just stole the idea,” Sparrow said. After getting the OK from Principal Andria Mitchell, Cardella ran with it, Sparrow said.

“Anytime we go to our principal with an idea to benefit the students, she’s all for it,” Sparrow said.

“The PTO bought two cases of stick-on mustaches that I sold before winter break for 75 cents apiece,” Cardella said.

Teachers chipped in to help students who didn’t have money for a mustache, and Cardella said the school’s janitor, Ron Brown, contributed $20, as well. By the end of the day, they had raised almost $300.

Cardella combined those funds with a $40 Walmart gift card from the PTO, and had enough for 21 pairs of shoes.

Sparrow said he already had a few pairs for students to use.

“We had acquired a few donated by students at the end of the year that they had outgrown,” he said. But he needed smaller sizes that close with Velcro.

“We want 100 percent participation in P.E.,” Sparrow said. He didn’t want the younger students spending class time struggling with laces when Velcro closures are much easier for them.

Sparrow and Cardella are both pleased with the participation in the fundraiser, and the outcome.

“This is how our building operates,” Sparrow said. “People look out for each other.”

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