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Stafford Primary School fourth-graders sell
by: VERN UYETAKE Nick Springallsells rocks with eyes.

Bookmarks, bracelets, birdhouses, Flubber, Glubber and rocks - all this and so much more was for sale at last week's Stafford Primary School Marketplace.

'I've been thinking about what to sell for a long time,' Sophie Heilig, 9, said. 'I started with a stress ball, but there were too many of those. Then I thought about tie-dye T-shirts, but they were too expensive. Finally, I came up with tie-dye shoelaces. They are selling really well.'

This is the third year that Stafford's fourth-graders have held the Stafford Marketplace, 'and every year it gets better,' said Tina Allarverdian, the fourth-grade teacher who founded the event. Allarverdian is pregnant with twins and is currently on a leave from her class, but she returned to school just to do some marketplace shopping.

'The hot item is always the marshmallow shooter,' Allarverdian said. 'It sells out really fast. A new item this year is the duct-tape wallets. The boys are going crazy for those.'

In preparation for the Stafford Marketplace, the fourth-graders had to build a business plan, test their products on their peers and submit a contract with their parents stating how they'd raise money for their supplies.

'The kids did some dog walking and had lemonade stands,' Allarverdian said.

All of the funds raised at the Stafford Marketplace go to AfricaBridge to help build a classroom at Stafford's buddy school, Pakati Primary, in Tanzania, Africa.

First-graders Quinn Birmingham and Elijah Hiltebrand were spotted at the marketplace with armloads of loot.

'I spent $3.55, and I have this mini helicopter, some Flubber and some other stuff,' Hiltebrand said. 'I really wanted a marshmallow gun, but they were sold out.'

'I spent $5, and I got all this stuff,' Birmingham said showing an Oregon state stuffed pillow, a golf ball with a face and several other tchotchkes.

The high school marimba band came to play; and popcorn, Pizza Schmizza and Jamba Juice were served for lunch.

When all the nickels, dimes and quarters were totaled up, the marketplace raised $3,863. This money, coupled with the funds raised by Stafford's second-graders in the 'Read to Feed' program, should be enough to successfully add a classroom to the Pakati school.

'What an experience for our students to see how their efforts can affect lives across the globe,' Principal Patrick Meigs said in the Stafford newsletter's marketplace recap. 'Well done, Stafford students.'