Pie in the Face Benefits Relay

Cavazos teacher Crystal Smith gets a pie in the face
By: Todd Martin
In the category of doing anything for a good cause, three educators at Cavazos Elementary School calmly sat in front of a huge assembly of students and staff to receive a pie in the face.
The hoopla, which culminated the school’s monthly awards assembly Friday, came a day before the Relay for Life of West Bell County, scheduled at Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
The event leader, Tina Phillips, lead custodian at Cavazos, organized the pie-in-the-face fundraiser as part of the school’s efforts to support the walk that benefits the American Cancer Society.
The “winners” of the school’s contest, earning the most money from students and staff to receive a face of cream, went to Principal Joseph Gullekson, Assistant Principal Elizabeth Barragan and fifth-grade teacher Crystal Smith.
Since Phillips works so hard for such a good cause, Gullekson arranged for her to receive a surprise pie herself.
The effort raised $309 for Relay for Life, just a portion of the more than $1,000 the school raised overall.
After washing the cream from her face, Phillips explained her devotion to raising money and awareness for cancer research and treatment.
The 27-year Killeen ISD employee said she started volunteering to help with Relay for Life in 2001 when she worked at Sugar Loaf Elementary School and befriended a teacher who was a cancer survivor.
Prior to that, she had a family member who died from cancer and since then she has known many family and friends who battle the incurable disease.
“I’ve worked with so many people who fight so hard,” she said. “I think it’s a worthy cause. It’s near and dear to my heart and it affects everyone in some way.”
This year, on Saturday, 30 teams are set to walk. By Friday, the effort had raised $42,000 with much more to come, Phillips said.
“We celebrate all the survivors and those who are still fighting,” she said.
The opening ceremony is set for noon and activities continue to 10 p.m.