As students look on, Princeton Elementary School secretary Patti Pickett dumps ice cream on Principal Justin Cabe Oct. 24 to make him a human sundae.

As students look on, Princeton Elementary School secretary Patti Pickett dumps ice cream on Principal Justin Cabe Oct. 24 to make him a human sundae.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Princeton Elementary students rewarded for fundraising efforts

By: Maria Allard | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 9, 2022

 Photos by Patricia O’Blenes

Photos by Patricia O’Blenes

Tossing water balloons at Princeton Principal Justin Cabe was one of the rewards for students after they raised $75,857 for the Parent Teacher Organization, a new record for the school.


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Principal Justin Cabe kept his word to the students at Princeton Elementary.

When the students set a new fundraising record this year during their fun run fundraiser Oct. 7, Cabe vowed to offer them a special reward for their efforts.

The students collected monetary pledges from family and friends to raise a total of $75,857 for the Parent Teacher Organization, the highest amount ever raised at the school. The fun run is the primary source of income for the PTO. Princeton is part of Lakeview Public Schools.

For their reward, the students had the opportunity to either turn Cabe into a human sundae, throw water balloons at him, or make him spend the night sleeping in a tent on the school roof.

They voted, and the majority chose to transform their principal into an ice cream sundae. But because the students went above and beyond in their fundraising, Cabe was a good sport and did all three in one day.

“I’m ready,” he said while heading out to the courtyard where students and staff gathered Oct. 24 for the big event. “I can’t wait. Our community is so wonderful, and our PTO is wonderful.”

First up was the human sundae venture. After sitting down on a milkcrate inside a plastic swimming pool, Cabe — wearing swimming googles — braced himself. Behind him stood school secretary Patti Pickett, who dumped a bucket of cold, vanilla ice cream on his head as the students cheered.

Then it was time for the top 10 students who collected the most money to add whipped topping, chocolate syrup and caramel syrup, along with plenty of sprinkles. Kindergarten student Valentino Gino was the top money earner with a total of $2,183 raised. With chants, applause and laughter, PTO members also got into the action by adding some final touches of whipped topping and syrup.

“I feel delicious,” he said.

The fun continued when the students, one at a time, threw a water balloon at Cabe. He used a tennis racket to protect himself. Cabe continued with his good sportsmanship by sleeping on the school roof overnight in a tent with a sleeping bag, chair and table.

Money raised from the fun run is used to sponsor student activities, staff appreciation events, assemblies and field trips. Funds raised also support the purchase of books, supplies, technology, snacks and more.

The school receives sponsorships from local businesses to support the PTO. The PTO officers include President Kristyn Schmitz, Vice President Dianna Urness-Jones, Treasurer Tory Givinsky, Secretary Kristen Stricklen and Trustee Rosa Clark.

“This is our budget money for the entire year. We’re very proud of our students. They only had four weeks to raise the money,” Schmitz said. “We’ve been doing the (fundraiser) for years. The community astounds us every year with how much they raise.”

There were several incentives to help encourage students to seek pledges for the fun run, including gift cards and a pizza lunch with the principal. Each Princeton family that raised $250 was placed in a special drawing for a laptop.