LA PUENTE, CA – Edgewood Academy students and staff raised $915 in the month of March for a summer camp program that supports children who have a parent who has recovered from cancer, is undergoing cancer treatments or has passed away from cancer.

Associated Student Body (ASB) President Aysiah Gonzalez, an eighth-grader, saw how the program, Camp Kesem, comforted a cousin whose father was diagnosed with cancer.

“It helped her a lot during that time because she could talk with other kids going through the same situation,” Gonzalez, 13, said. “I like helping others and Camp Kesem will help a lot of children during a difficult time.”

Edgewood’s ASB leadership team was brought the idea of supporting Camp Kesem through the No Excuses University (NEU) program, a nationwide network that encourages students at an early age to attend college. Each year, NEU chooses a charity of the year for schools to support as a way to promote citizenship among students.

“Once we heard what we would be fundraising for, that was all the motivation we needed to start,” eighth-grader Michell Martinez said. “We all worked together to make this happen.”

Students, staff and administrators donated a dollar or more every Monday and Friday in March. Students were able to wear jeans for the day at the uniform-only campus. Each donor colored a circle NEU piece that all connected together to form a Camp Kesem caterpillar.

“We’ve had students, family members and staff members who’ve had cancer, and fundraising for Camp Kesem was a way to show our support for each other,” Principal Monica Portugal said. “Edgewood is a family, and as a family we help each other.”

All three Bassett Unified elementary schools and Edgewood are part of the NEU network. Each classroom adopts a college or university and students learn about programs and majors each college offers.

“Our students are learning how to give back to our community by supporting causes that directly impact their peers and teachers,” Bassett Unified Superintendent Dr. Alex Rojas said. “Thanks to our No Excuses University schools, it further immerses our students in an environment that sets them on a pathway to success.”


050417_BASSETT_CAMPKESEM1: Edgewood Academy eighth-grader Michell Martinez (right) holds up a Camp Kesem caterpillar, representing donors who helped to raise $915 throughout March to support children who have a parent who has been affected by cancer.