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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Fourth-graders raise money for classmate

  • As the school year draws to a close at Anthony Elementary School, one fourth-grader is being missed by her classmates.
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  • As the school year draws to a close at Anthony Elementary School, one fourth-grader is being missed by her classmates.
    Shriya Bhakta has spent much of the school year in hospitals as the result of a rare congenital heart defect, according to her teacher, Kathryn Schiller.
    To help Bhakta and her family with medical bills and other expenses, her classmates have raised money by selling gourmet suckers at their school. There's also a movie night planned for this evening that will serve as a fundraiser.
    "All of the money we get we are giving to the family," fourth-grader Tabby Dey said.
    Schiller said Bhakta has been attending Anthony since kindergarten. Bhakta has had four open heart surgeries and other procedures in attempt to repair her heart defect. It's been determined she needs a heart transplant.
    Even though she wasn't at Anthony, Bhakta was able to participate in class while staying at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., through video conferencing. Bhakta has since traveled to a hospital in Boston.
    Classmate Aubree Fleming described Bhakta as "sweet and brave."
    "She's kind to everyone," said another classmate, Skylea Brown.
    Schiller said she purchased the gourmet suckers, which her students started selling at the school this week for 50 cents each.
    She said all 684 of the suckers had been sold within 2.5 days.
    The movie night is planned for 5 to 7 p.m. today at the school. Admission is $1 per student or $5 per family. Concessions will be sold at the event.
    Next week, staff members in the school district can pay money in order to be permitted to wear jeans. Schiller said this event also will raise money for Bhakta.

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