Westwood students' ice cream sales create hot profit for cool charities

By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

“I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream.”

Students in Matt Hicks' fourth-grade Westwood Elementary School classroom aren't screaming for ice cream, but they sure are shouting about the hot profit the cool treat has brought to their charity fund-raising project.

Since the start of the school year, Hicks' 23 students have been hawking frozen delights weekly at lunch and handing them out at the final recess of the day. They collect 75 cents, pre-paid, for each item. Friday afternoon during a school assembly, they presented the nearly $1,400 they've raised to two charities - Plateau Outreach Ministries and Catch A Special Thrill (CAST), which brings fishing and boating programs to disabled and disadvantaged children.

The ice cream sales have been a learning experience for the students.

As Matt Flintoff, Hayden Schmitt and their classmates explain, initially the plan was to raise money through ice cream sales with half going to a charity and the other half paying for a class trip to a Federal Way water park. They started by selling their ice cream, which was donated by Flintoff's family-owned Medosweet Farms, at recess. What the group soon learned was it took the whole recess to hand out ice cream and collect payment and they ran out by the second wave.

Eventually, they went to a pre-paid, pre-order program. Students could place an order at lunch and their frosty treats would be delivered to their classroom before the final recess. Tucked into the far corner of the classroom is a small, loaner freezer from Medosweet Farms filled with ice cream cones, sandwiches and popsicles.

Each student who wants to participate, has a duty - selling, delivering or counting the profit. Jobs rotate so everyone has a turn.

Hicks said the students have learned to count money and make change on their feet, which tied in with one of their math units. They've also learned customer relations and responsibility.

As an additional assignment, students could research a charity and pitch it through a presentation to the class. The class came up with two, but somewhere along the way, Flintoff's dad finagled tickets to the water park, opening up the option for the class to split the entire pot between the two charities.

“It was so neat when we were telling them about the charities,” Hicks said. “That really opened their eyes, which was the main lesson I was hoping they'd get from this.”

As of May 4, Hicks' class sold 139 dozen ice cream treats; that's approximately 1,668 bars, equaling about $1,251. The students figure they averaged $100 a week.

“I'm pretty proud of the kids,” Hicks said. “ I thought we might lose steam. I wasn't sure, but the kids have kept the enthusiasm going and take pride in it.”

Brenda Sexton can be reached at

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