March 21, 2014 at 3:00 AM
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Fifth-grade teachers at Grant School will take on their sixth-grade counterparts in a basketball game tonight to benefit a fellow teacher battling colon cancer.
Dubbed the “Duel for O’Toole,” the game will raise money to help fifth-grade teacher Michele O’Toole with medical bills as she receives treatment.
While admission is free, students have been raising funds in lots of ways to get ready for the night. Those who get over $50 in pledges earn a shot at winning a pair of Beats headphones. And over 100 have donated five dollars each so they can be in a foul-shooting contest, with an equal number signing up for a 5-3-1 shoot-off.
Others students are having their hair painted blue--the official color for colon-cancer awareness--to show their support for their teacher and her struggle.
“Every time I turn around someone is asking how they can help,” said Michelle Kirchofer, a fellow teacher and one of the event organizers.
According to Kirchofer, people are coming out of the woodwork to donate raffle prizes, including a 30-person suite courtesy of the Somerset Patriots and Nets/Knicks tickets donated by Nead Electric. She also credited Sodexo, the school district’s cafeteria manger, with donating the food they'll be selling.
But Kirchofer said she’s most excited by what she sees in the students. “It’s brought the kids together with the faculty in beautiful way,” she said. “We are all coming together for one cause.”
While the events begin at 5 p.m., the battle between the fifth- and sixth-grade teachers starts at 7 p.m. A complete list of activities is available on the borough's website.