Petal Upper Elementary carnival to benefit Relay for Life

By HASKEL BURNS,

With Spring Break right around the corner, Petal Upper Elementary School staff and students are preparing for the yearly tradition of the school’s Relay For Life Spring Carnival, with all proceeds going to Relay For Life, the fundraising arm of the American Cancer Society.

The event will be held March 8 on the school’s campus, with activities like inflatables, slides, obstacle courses, face painting, and a mechanical bull. Kona Ice will be on hand to sell sno-balls, and other snacks will be available to purchase. To participate in the carnival, students can purchase a wristband for $10 to benefit Relay For Life.

“We have a few members of our PTO come and help, and our teachers get out and help,” principal Emily Branch said. “It’s a way for us to celebrate spring and the end of the third nine weeks, and we’re constantly trying to teach our kids to give back and connect with their community.”

Leading up to the event, which is in its third years, teachers and staff work with the students to raise awareness of cancer prevention and how to make a difference in the community.

“Even though we’re having fun, we emphasize to them that the real purpose of the day is to make a difference for others,” Branch said.

Branch said the event typically raises approximately $4,000 for Relay For Life.

“It’s just very rewarding,” she said. “My own mother passed away 12 years ago from cancer, so having been through that myself, whenever I get to go out there and see the children playing and enjoying themselves – but also knowing that we’re able to give back – it’s especially meaningful to me.

“It makes it a little more special to me, knowing that we’re doing our part to make a difference.”