Students rally support for teacher
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Students love Bill Maddy because he cares about them. Parents love the way Maddy cares about their children.
That's why so many people in Hays want to show the Hays Middle School teacher they care about him, and they are doing so in a big way.
Several parents are planning yet another fundraiser for Maddy, who was diagnosed with leukemia in November.
A quarter auction, bake sale and raffle -- which organizers have dubbed "Maddy Mania" -- are scheduled for 3 p.m. Jan. 19 at the National Guard Armory in Hays, with all proceeds going to help Maddy with medical and travel expenses.
That comes on the heels of last month's fundraiser through the Taco Shop in Hays that brought in more than $2,000.
"This man, in 20 years, has time and time again proven himself as an amazing teacher," said Angie Tomlinson, one of the organizers of the auction. "He's like a father, tutor, counselor and a friend to the kids."
Those willing to help include former students.
"Mr. Maddy was one of my favorite teachers," said Sydney Niernberger, who attended HMS and now is a student at Fort Hays State University.
"I still see him once in a while and he always asks me how I'm doing," said Niernberger, who helped with the Taco Shop fundraiser. "He's affected so many people in so many ways. He's one in a million."
Maddy, who lives in Stockton, has made the approximately 80-mile round trip to and from Hays every school day for 20 years.
Besides his main job as sixth-grade math and science teacher, he also has taught driver's education in the summer for several years. He also has kept the scorebook for Falcon volleyball and basketball games and served as part of the chain gang for football games.
"He's made such a difference here that our community has pulled together for him," Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson, along with her sister, Jennifer Patterson, and Carrie Silva-Thomas, all have had children attend HMS.
"He makes everyone feel special, the students, fellow teachers, custodians," said Barb Leo, another sixth-grade teacher at HMS who has taught with Maddy for 20 years. "He's kind to everybody; that's what makes him special. He's very in tune to making people feel good."
Organizers of Maddy Mania want Maddy to know the feeling is mutual.
"Our goal is to get $5,000," Patterson said. "We're hoping we can make a dent at least in their expenses."
And it's a way to show Maddy people in Hays care about him.
"This man deserves anything we can get for him," Patterson said.
All proceeds from the fundraisers go into a fund at Stockton National Bank in Stockton.
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Organizers of the Maddy Mania fundraiser on Jan. 19 are warning participants to bring lots of quarters for the paddle auction at the National Guard Armory, 200 Main, Hays. Tickets are being sold for $5 to participate in the auction, which is different than a normal auction.
In a paddle auction, each item up for bid is displayed by the auctioneer, who gives a description, its retail value and how many quarters.
When all bids are collected, the auctioneer draws a numbered chip from a container containing all the numbers, and the bidder with that number wins.
Numerous vendors will set up tables to sell items. Nearly $6,000 worth of items, including numerous gift certificates, have been donated to the cause by local businesses and individuals.
And the Maddy Mania team is accepting donations for the bake sale. In addition, several local businesses have donated items for a raffle. Anyone wishing to donate can call Tomlinson at (785) 639-2716, Patterson at (785) 259-2633 or Silva-Thomas at (785) 639-1788.
Doors will open at noon for people to shop at vendors' stations before the auction at 3 p.m.