Students at Brandon Elementary pay it forward to high school seniors

Lufkin High School Senior Kristen Neil is one step closer to achieving her goal.

"I decided to be a nurse after I got skin cancer because I want to help people like they helped me," Neil said.

Thanks to students at Brandon Elementary. Neil was just one of five Brandon alumni that were awarded scholarship money.

Principal Dr. Elizabeth Walter said they wanted to find a way to continue to support Brandon alumni.

"Our goal was $5,000, but we met our goal and raised about $2500," Walter said.

The students raised the chunk of cash in just three weeks through charitable acts. Fifth Grader Emma Carlile was one of those students.

"We had several activities like free dress Mondays. We got to wear whatever we wanted on Mondays if we paid two dollars," Carlile said.

"We did a letter campaign and sent brochures out and sent it to local businesses," Walter said.

She said the fundraising had a dual purpose. It taught the students how to achieve a goal and to give back to the community. It seemed like student got the message and took the task with pride.

"I thought it was a really good idea because some people don't have all the money to go to college and we could help them out by raising the money," said Garrett Keaton, a 5th grader at Brandon Elementary.

Kristen's mom Teresa Roe, who is a teacher at Brandon Elementary, said she was shocked when she heard the news and she couldn't be prouder of her students.

"As a parent you want to be able to provide for your kid but in reality its hard tuition keeps rising,"  Roe said.

"This much would take off kind of like the first semester of you know school. So I can focus on school and worry about some of the cost later," Neil said.

Walter said this scholarship program is a way to put higher education on the minds of all their students.

About 75 students applied for this scholarship, and out of those applicants there were 17 finalists, Walter said it was hard picking the recipient because all of their essays were really heartwarming, but they pushed through and managed to narrow it down to five lucky students.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.