Dean of Students Jen Donnelly and Principal Justin Cabe smile down from the roof of Princeton Elementary School.

Dean of Students Jen Donnelly and Principal Justin Cabe smile down from the roof of Princeton Elementary School.

Photo provided by Justin Cabe

Elementary principal, dean of students spend day on the roof

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 20, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Princeton Elementary School Principal Justin Cabe and Dean of Students Jen Donnelly spent a day up on the roof Nov. 3, much to the excitement of the students and parents.

The two were up on the roof as a reward for the students at Princeton. They surpassed their initial fundraising goal of $35,000 at their Fun Run Oct. 6. This is their main fundraiser for the year and the money stays at Princeton Elementary School.

“If they hit the goal of $35,000, they get to pick one of three choices,” Cabe said.

Cabe said later on they also have sponsors for the Fun Run.

“The money raised through the annual Fun Run event goes towards things for the students that are not paid for through the general fund, including transportation for field trips, supplies and technology upgrades,” Donnelly said in an email. “Many local businesses provided sponsorships and were represented on banners posted on the day of the (Fun Run).”

The three reward choices the students were given were Donnelly and Cabe’s banishment to the roof for the day and into the evening, the students could try to dump water on them in a modified dunk tank, or Cabe and Donnelly would get taped to the wall inside the school.

“At the PTO meeting, there was a challenge of if we doubled our goal would Mr. Cabe and Mrs. Donnelly do all three and we said yes,” Cabe said. “Obviously, we more than doubled. We ended up coming in at just under $84,000.”

The total amount of money raised during the Fun Run was $83,226.

While on the roof, they greeted the students as they came into school and played with the students at recess. They also had a desk up on the roof and were still working throughout the day.

At the end of the day, they dropped around 30 pounds of candy to the children, Cabe said.

“And we stayed on the roof into the evening and then at 7 o’clock that night we read a bedtime story through Facebook live,” Cabe said. “And we each read a bedtime story, and told all the kids to have a good weekend, and that was kind of the end of the day.”

Donnelly said in an email they tried to get work done, but the wind made it difficult. Both said it was a bit chilly as well.

“In fact, a stack of papers that Mr. Cabe took up ended up blowing off the roof!” Donnelly said in the email. “One of our visitors happily collected all of them!”

Donnelly said in an email that the parents were very supportive during their time on the roof.

“Some offered snacks and hot beverages. Many waved and chatted with us when dropping off and picking up their students,” Donnelly said in the email.

Cabe said and Donnelly said in an email the students and the parents had fun fundraising for the school. Cabe said there were incentives for the students to raise more money, including a pizza party for the top class, drawings and others. The day of the Fun Run, the students received class shirts, the parents could buy fence panels and also tailgate outside with coffee and doughnuts.

“Parents decorated the fence panels, and they were able to sit there, and the students ran for about an hour around our baseball diamond,” Cabe said.

Parents who did not buy a fence panel could still watch their students, Cabe said.

The first time they implemented the single fundraiser was about eight years ago. Over the years, the fundraising goal has increased. Cabe said they’ve always hit their goal every year and then some. The first goal was $20,000 and they raised around $40,000.

Cabe said he is taken aback by the support and generosity.

“My teachers and staff and I, we work hard every day to build the Princeton community to what is and to support our students and families and the whole child,” Cabe said. “It makes me happy to know that parents recognize that and they support us.”