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'SO PROUD' | Hudsonville principal rewards students by spending a day on the roof

Principal MacKenzie Stefanich did her work from the roof to honor students and community members for helping out with the PTA's annual fundraiser.

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — In a hallway typically dominated by discussions about Roblox, all the buzz at Jamestown Lower Elementary has shifted over the past week. Kids are still talking about the day their principal, MacKenzie Stefanich spent the day working from the school's roof.

"Anytime our kids had recess, I made sure I walked over where they could see me, and it was like the first time they saw me again, like she's still up there," she said.

"It was fun. How exciting it was for them to see me up there and just yelling, 'Are you scared? Is it fun?' It worked out really great."

Sidney, a second grader, said she was worried Stefanich would fall off at first. But once she realized she was safe Sidney said she wishes she could join her principal.

Elias, a first grader, was more concerned about how Stefanich would make it back to the ground.

"Is she going to build a slide or something? Or is she going to parachute down?" he wondered.

The fact Stefanich ended up on the roof in the first place is largely thanks to Jamestown Lower students like Sidney and Elias. They helped raise money for the school's walk-a-thon. It's the PTA's big fundraiser every year and it provides playground equipment, books, classroom supplies, and building enhancements for Jamestown Lower and Jamestown Upper schools.

"Every year they ask the principal to do an additional incentive. So I just each year tried to come up with a fun," Stefanich said.

"One year I dyed my hair pink. Another year every class got to dump slime on me. You just have to come up with something new and fresh that they would be like 'that would be epic.'"

But spending the day on the roof is an incentive that the school had never reached before this year, and Stefanich was pleasantly surprised that they reached it this time around.

"They surpassed more than we've ever raised before, and so they were really excited," she said.

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This was the first year Jamestown Lower could return to their typical full fundraiser since the COVID-19 pandemic canceled fundraising events the last two years. Stefanich says she is proud.

"I just think the way that the community showed up to support our schools and to support our students and our educators is just astonishing," she said.

The big day on the roof was Monday.

"It was 77 degrees and windy, but it was a really pleasant day. The last couple days have been really hot, so I'm grateful I had a good day. It worked out beautiful in my schedule," Stefanich said.

"I have a really amazing custodian in our building. And he helped me get a table and chair up there so that I could actually get some work done and be productive."

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