The students at Cunningham Elementary School made a big contribution to a local charity and were rewarded with a visit from one of the biggest stars in Boston sports.
On February 27, Boston Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara visited Cunningham as part of the team’s partnership with Cradles to Crayons, an organization that provides basic items to children between newborn and age 12.
For the past three or four years, Cunningham has participated in the Boston Bruins PJ Drive. Last year, they collected the most pajamas across the state, earning them a visit from the 6-foot-9 defenseman.
Patty Andresino, the teacher who organized the drive and introduced Chara on Monday, explained the students got creative and worked hard to collect the most pajamas last February.
“They bagged and counted and banded 1,280 pairs of pajamas last year,” Andresino said.
Milton students contributed to the 9,000 pairs of pajamas that were statewide collected last year. This year, Cradles to Crayons is shooting for 15,000 pairs. Cunningham put forth another impressive collecting effort and, according to Jen White, Cradles to Crayons Director of Development, may earn another visit from a Bruin.
“This year we have a goal of collecting even more pajamas because we want to help as many families as we can,” Andresino said.
The mission of sharing with the less fortunate is what White, a Milton resident, took away from the Monday’s excitement.
“It’s kids helping kids,” said White. “That’s a very powerful message.”
Chara’s visit caused a buzz throughout the afternoon with chants from the students before he arrived and an eruption as he walked through the door. The students also jumped up with excitement when Cunningham Principal Dr. Karen Spaulding announced that each child would receive a hockey puck autographed by Chara.
“Thank you guys so much," Chara told the students. It’s for a great cause and really appreciated."
Spaulding used her time on the microphone to thank all of the organizations involved as well as the dedicated students.
“I want to thank the Cradles to Crayons organization as well as the Boston Bruins organization for working with these wonderful students to collect so many pajamas,” said Spaulding to the anxious students before Chara’s arrival.
To learn more about Cradles to Crayons visit cradlestocrayons.org.