Morrisville Intermediate students make a weighty contribution to Coaches vs. Cancer charity

by Stewart Gross

Julie Habel, fourth grade teacher and faculty sponsor of the Morrisville Intermediate School Student Council, challenged her students to “Make a Change” to help cancer patients.       

Their response was heavy.

They collected 86 pounds of coins, totaling $851, and donated this money to the Coaches vs. Cancer charity, a national program that is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Members of this organization include high school and college basketball coaches and referees.

Morrisville’s Coaches vs. Cancer game was held on February 6th, when Morrisville took on TCA (The Christian Academy) from Brookhaven, PA.  They donated the entire gate receipts to the charity, along with the money that Julie and her Morrisville Intermediate student council collected.

It was Morrisville’s biggest gate and total donation in the history of the event.

That same day, Julie, along with the third, fourth and fifth grades that comprise Morrisville Intermediate, held an assembly where they did multi-disciplinary activities in science and math to culminate their collection campaign.

The collections were conducted each morning by student council representatives from each grade who went into homerooms jingling their change collectors.

Ultimately that money found its way into the three-five gallon collection jugs that got weighed-in.

One of the interesting things discussed at the assembly was the disease itself.  When Julie asked the assembled students in attendance who had a family member who has battled cancer, every hand in the auditorium went up.

Julie herself is a 15-year breast cancer survivor.

She points out that, “The money donated goes into research, wigs, prosthetics, and even pays for treatments for victims of the disease who can’t afford treatment themselves.”

Julie has deep-rooted connections with both the student council and Morrisville School District.

Not only has she been the faculty sponsor and facilitator of the Morrisville Intermediate Student Council for five years now, she is also a graduate of Morrisville High School, where she served as a student council representative.

And her father, Jim Kelbaugh, taught social studies at Morrisville Junior/Senior High for 35 years, in the same classroom that she teaches the fourth grade in now.

He too was a student advisor of the student council and coached basketball. Julie is happy to report that her father is still very active at age 87.

Donations to Coaches vs. Cancer can be made online at

You can also contact Julie directly by e-mail at

PHOTO CAP: Julie Habel at the assembly