‘Pop-A-Shot’ was the game that students from left, Matthew Huss, Ryan McCarthy and Jack Urbanski created for the arcade. Courtesy photo
‘Pop-A-Shot’ was the game that students from left, Matthew Huss, Ryan McCarthy and Jack Urbanski created for the arcade. Courtesy photo
Students in Holy Cross Academy, Rumson, continued the tradition this year of creating arcade games made of cardboard and other recycled materials for a good cause.

During Catholic Schools Week, sixth-graders invited their parents and peers to test their skills at pinball, basketball, mini-golf and skee ball. The students charged $1 per game or $5 unlimited play, raising $900 for the Catholic Medical Mission Board, which will go to their partner medical facilities in Africa.

On Feb. 6, representatives from the Catholic Medical Mission Board’s New York office visited the school to thank the students, accept their check, and share a slide show of the organization’s vision. 

The sixth-graders, under the direction of religion and integrated language arts teacher Maryjane Gallo, designed and built the games themselves. Gallo completed a volunteer trip to Africa several years ago through the Catholic Medical Mission Board, a nonprofit focused on global health care.

Gallo said it was her hope “to inspire students to look outside their own comfortable word to the larger world around them.”

She said the sixth-graders took pride in the fundraiser and enjoyed being young leaders in their school.

“It is wonderful to see them put their arm around a kindergarten student or high-five a preschooler who wins a game,” Gallo said. “This is a role they will reprise many times in seventh and eighth grade, when they serve as prayer partners with their younger counterparts in kindergarten and first-grade students.”

During the visit to the school, Darnelle Bernier, vice president of the Catholic Medical Mission Board’s Medical Donations Program, explained that the funds raised would go to purchase Birth Kits for their partner medical facilities in Africa. Childbirth and the time immediately following are the most dangerous to women and young children, she explained, and that if they are able to have a safe, infection-free birth, the baby and mother are both much more likely to live.

Each birth kit includes specific items needed during delivery, including receiving blankets, cloth diapers, alcohol wipes and an instrument to cut the umbilical cord. When these kits are unavailable, Bernier explained, women are often expected to bring their own supplies to the birthing facility, which often is not possible.