East Side’s Murphy selling books to raise funds for Dr. Wandell

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Star Photo/Curtis Carden                                East Side fifth grader Lucase Murphy spearheaded to raise money for Dr. Josh Wandell by selling books.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
East Side fifth grader Lucase Murphy spearheaded to raise money for Dr. Josh Wandell by selling books.

Since stepping down from his position as principal of East Side Elementary School in 2015, Dr. Josh Wandell’s presence can still be felt to this day inside the building.
Wandell stepped down from his position after being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), but the fight and drive by the school leader inspired the student body, including fifth-grader Lucas Murphy, to give back.
Lucas, the son of Kenneth and Jennifer Murphy, recently took up the charge to raise funds for his former principal by selling his childhood books.
“Mr. Wandell was my principal when I started kindergarten,” Lucas said Tuesday. “He is just an amazing person and really deserves this money. I was just sitting one day thinking about him, and knowing he could use the money. I just thought about raising money for him by selling my books.
“He used to put people on top of the lockers,” he added with a laugh. “He was very funny. He’s just such a great person and he amazes me with all that he does.”
An avid reader, Lucas added that he has about 75 to 100 books.
“I want to say I’ve sold around 30 to 40 books already,” he said. “I’ve been able to raise $280 so far.”
Since starting up the drive to raise funds, Lucas has been hard at it, along with receiving support from his classmates, adding he’s seen others do different events in the past. The fifth-grader’s story made a recent television broadcast by WJHL, which was seen by members of the community and allowed them to contribute to the cause, according to East Side principal Travis Hurley.
“It just says a lot about the culture he built here,” Hurley said. “Kids see the importance of doing things for others and not for themselves. That speaks volumes on what he built here and what he was able to accomplish here. As you can see, he continues to show up here on a regular basis and that’s an incredible thing to have. This was just meant to be something for the students but it has grown from that.”
Luas is just one of many kids that have taken the charge in doing things for Wandell, Hurley added, mentioning one young lady recently donated $45 and that students regularly provide birthday cards for Josh.
“We’ve been able to have the ‘Faith of Fear’ award now for two years for our top fifth-grader,” Hurley said. “We still have random Wandell Wednesdays where everyone will wear their Team Wandell shirts. He still comes by sometimes to visit. It is such a great thing. Just because he isn’t here, doesn’t mean he isn’t felt by the students and faculty.”
And that ingrained attitude of giving to others was well-represented by Lucas, with the student adding that his classmates love performing the variety of activities for Wandell.
“I guarantee he’s proud of us,” Lucas said. “We appreciate him and thank him. All those times he came into work feeling bad, he always thought about the kids and the school. It just means a lot.”
And with the upcoming Race For Wandell, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17, being the first ever sanctioned 3K race in Tennessee, you expect Lucas, along with thousands of others, to participate. When asked about taking part in the event, he cracked a smile and simply said, “oh yes, definitely.”
Hurley added that if anybody is interested in contributing to Lucas’ fundraiser, they can contact the school and he can get them in touch with his parents.

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