FRONTENAC — Frank Layden Elementary students threw pies at their teachers and turned their principal into an ice cream sundae on Friday.

Elementary students participated in Kids Helping Kids, fundraising money to go to three charities, Children’s Miracle Network, Ronald McDonald House and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The program was created by Fourth Grade Teacher Phyllis Smith in honor of Aaron Marlier, a student she had who passed from cancer.  Marlier would be 29 years old.

“Aaron was strong spirited and would never complain, even when he didn’t feel well,” Smith said. “He wanted to be here.

“He has left a special spot in my heart.”

Smith’s class collected cans all year to donate money to the Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Miracle Network.

Six years ago it became a school wide tradition to raise money in February, followed by a celebration in March.

According to Fifth Grade Teacher Chelsea Glynn, donated their own allowances and asked friends and family to chip in.

Fourth Grader Bella Hall said the hard work made for a special event.

“A lot of hard work went into it,” Hall said. “It was very special.”

Glynn’s class collected $264 for the cause, and Glynn had five pies thrown at her.

She told her students that for every $50 she would allow them to throw one pie in her face. The idea caught on to the rest of the school — they too, would have pies thrown at their face.

On the last day to collect donations, Glynn’s class was 48 cents short from their $250 goal.

The children dug through their lockers for change. Glynn said one of her students came up to her with 10 dollars. The student said she was saving up for something good and the student thought it would be good to donate the money.

“They are an awesome class,” Glynn said. “I’m proud of them.”

The school’s principal Courtney McCartney said that she would allow the students to make her into a sundae if the students exceeded their goal of $1,000. The students managed to double last year’s amount. They raised over $2,100.

The students decorated McCartney in ice cream, sprinkles, chocolate syrup and whip cream — topped off with two cherries.

McCartney said they have been teaching the students about leadership and giving back, including the concept of synergy — people working together to make things happen.

“This is a great way to honor Aaron and other kids with cancer,” McCartney said. “This shows them one way to give back.”

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP.