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Inspirational Youth

Going above and beyond to support school lunches.

CNN reports on Daken Kramer, an 11-year-old fifth-grader from Blue Springs, Missouri. He raised over $7,300 through an online fundraiser to pay off the lunch debt at his elementary school, Thomas Ultican Elementary, and also contributed to a local high school’s lunch debt.

Daken paid off the entire meal debt and then some, for his elementary school in Blue Springs, Missouri, after turning in a check for more than $7,300. Daken’s original goal was $3,500, which was just over the total of the school’s debt, according to Daken’s mother, Vanessa Kramer. The remaining amount was given to Blue Springs High School, another school in the district.

“Children in elementary school should not have debt tied to their name. We have found out that there are high schools that keep seniors from attending prom or walking at graduation if they have stuff like student lunch debt,” Kramer said. “Some families can’t help it. They can’t pay it off.”

As of Daken’s fifth grade graduation on Tuesday, the Daken Kramer Legacy Award will now be an annual honor for fifth graders striving to make their own mark.

“Your selfless actions will impact dozens of students throughout the district,” Kristi Haley, Daken’s teacher, said as she announced the award in his name. “It’s not the amount of money you raised, although that was absolutely incredible. It’s your heart, your drive, your determination and your grit to help others that inspires us.”

Daken said the award took him aback.

A Missouri fifth grader raised enough money to pay off his entire school’s meal debt

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