Monday, March 23, 2009

Alex’s Virtual Lemonade Stand Kick-Off

Students at 38 schools across the US and in Taiwan are putting the squeeze on cancer for the next two weeks by participating in the Alex’s Virtual Lemonade Stand project. This collaboration between Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Lower Merion School District and MAGPI uses videoconferencing as a way to bring students from different schools together around a common purpose - - raising awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research.

This is our fourth year running this project - -and every year the project gets better! Today was the kick-off virtual pep rally where students had an opportunity to show their lemon spirit. The steering team behind the project was thrilled to see so much enthusiasm from students! We had step team performances, dramatic presentations, songs, raps and cheers - - all directed toward getting one another excited about giving childhood cancer (as one school put it) ‘the boot.’ Students from Cynwyd Elementary (who emceed the entire event) did a great job. And I can’t even begin to sing the praises of the of the faculty at Lower Merion School District (who ran all of television production equipment, prepped students and wrote the script) - - they really made the event look professional!! The success of this project is that it is truly a team effort. :0) A very special thanks to Tom McGee and Nancy Einstein (LMSD) as well as Connie Screnci (from Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation) for all of their efforts!

We found out today that over the last three years, this project has raised more than $61,000 for pediatric cancer research - - - and we quadrupled our school participation from 9 schools the first year to 38 this year.

Some of the highlights from today’s event:
  • Choreography from students at North Hills Elementary as they performed their original song
  • Watching the step teams from Jacob Elementary School and East Stroudsburg Area High School South perform
  • Hearing (and seeing) the students from Kutztown Area School District ‘rap’ their lemonade spirit
  • Seeing students from Robeson Elementary School perform a dramatic presentation of how they make lemonade (complete with students dressed up as water, lemons, sugar a straw and ice - - should have seen how they ‘stirred.’)
  • All of the ‘lemon heads’ at the Career Institute of Technology
  • Connecting with Taiwan in the middle of the night! Yes - - it was almost 2 a.m. there!
  • Hearing all of the cheers from all of the schools
Personally, I get excited about this project because it shows the power of the ‘people’ network when they harness the power of advanced infrastructure networks. It’s an amazing feat to bring all of these schools together for an hour - - and we can’t wait to see what they do over the next two weeks. You can keep track of schools’ progress by visiting the Alex’s Virtual Lemonade Stand Project Blog.

You can also watch the kick-off event, in its entirety, from the new MAGPI podcast site. You'll need iTunes to watch!

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