Nine-year-old Elsye Ayres spread a little extra kindness during the last week of school at Jo Byrns Elementary by ensuring all her schoolmates got a snow cone from the Kona Ice Truck that made a visit on Field Day.
With the help of her folks, Elsye kicked off “The Best Field Day Ever Fundraiser” on Facebook weeks prior in hopes of raising $2,100 so every student could enjoy a flavorful, icy treat — whether they had extra money with them that day or not.
Elsye, who made the first donation — $50 in birthday money — ended up with an online fundraiser that the community really rallied behind, according to her dad, Stephen Ayres, who also serves on the Robertson County School Board.
In the end, Elsye’s fundraiser exceeded the needed dollar amount, bringing in $2,330, allowing the school staff to have a treat too.
“The first day it was over $1,000,” said Ayres about the donations. “We reached our goal in two-and-one-half days.”
According to Jo Byrns Principal Sarah Moore, the effort provided a Kona snow cone to around 400 people at the school. Ayres said any of the unused funds raised will be donated to the JBES Parent-Teacher Organization for school supplies.
“I think that it’s a very special thing, especially on a day like today (Field Day) that all the students could be included and get a special treat,” Moore said. “She’s (Elsye) very kind, very generous, always wants to include others. She has a servant’s heart. She’s a great little lady.”
Ayres explained that while the teachers provide drinks and snacks on Field Day, it was Elsye who decided to continue in the footsteps of her older brother, Grayson, to fundraise so everyone could partake of the additional treat.
He had raised money for two years so his classmates could also enjoy an extra sweet on Field Day. It was an effort Ayres said he and his wife, Jennifer, encouraged so their son could experience the joy in giving, rather than just receiving.
Since her brother had moved up to a different school, Elsye decided to take over the reins and fundraise herself, ushering in a kind of family tradition, of sorts.
“Because I wanted to keep it going so hopefully everyone can get a Kona Ice,” said Elsye.
Elsye said she was happy no one was left out on Field Day, wants to continue with the Field Day fundraiser over the next two years, and hopes her cousins, who also attend Jo Byrns Elementary, will continue with the tradition once she is promoted.
“She’s always our little cheerleader — always encouraging everyone,” said Tonya Batson, Elsye’s teacher. “I think it’s fantastic the kindness she’s shown to everyone.”