Teachers Raise Over $2,000 for Lurie Children’s


Payano received a medal after fundraising with Extra Life movement.

By Julia Schuurman, Reporter

The clock strikes 1:00 a.m. Most are sound asleep.

However, a small group of teachers hoping to set an example are awake and stirring. While a couple focus on broadcasting video games, one can be found in the background strumming a guitar and singing away.

This moment is only a snippet in the entirety of the effort behind the group of educators, known as Rotten Apples. You can find them the same way you find anything else nowadays, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitch, and more.

The team consists of various teachers who live-stream different activities online to raise money for charities. Lane’s own teachers Mr. Payano and Mr. Davey are members and the two have been involved in fundraising with Rotten Apples for over a year now.

The group can be found on Twitch.TV under the handle @Rotten_Apples1. They broadcast on an online platform for live-streaming that displays their video game playing, musical performances, gags and more.

The platform allows for an interactive live-audience than can donate directly to the organizations through a link on the site, according to Payano. Many students, parents, staff, and more of the community have watched the streams in support.

Their live-streams are usually 12 hours long, making shifts a commonality amidst all of the action.

The team has even streamed for 24 hours straight last November to support the Extra Life event. Extra Life is a worldwide fundraising event that donates 100 percent of proceeds to branches of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, according to extra-life.org.

On Nov. 4, the team ended up raising over $2,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospital with the Extra Life foundation, according to a posting on their Instagram, @rotten_apples1.

Rotten Apples has also raised money for causes such as UNICEF, the Syrian refugee crisis, the AbleGamers Charity and Standing Rock/NODAPL.

“There’s never a shortage of people that need help,” Payano said.

Considering their students, the teachers often like to choose games with important social messages and steer away from gore and violence.

However, Payano admitted that as the stream continues into the night hours, the teams likes to play some horror-genre games.

“There’s just something about grown adults screaming that really delights our audience,” Payano said.

Playing video games, however, is not the only thing the teachers can be found doing during these streams. The activities vary from musical performances to comedy skits and gags.

During a stream earlier this year, the team even attempted the self-explanatory Hot Pepper Burger Challenge and other fun suggestions by the audience to encourage viewers to become active and involved in the streams.

The streams thrive off of community involvement and support, and Payano said this involvement is an important aspect of the streams. When the viewers take an active part in donating online and can see their contribution go straight to those in need, “they (the viewers) can really see what a difference they make,” Payano added.

The group has just hired a social media manager and have an upcoming holiday-themed stream planned for this Saturday, Dec. 23. With no plans to quit their service, many of the teachers consider their students when looking for inspiration.

“Honestly, it’s about the kids,” said Michael Tompkins, a fellow Rotten Apples member who teaches at Farragut Elementary School in Joliet.

“I wanted the chance to help out as many students as I could and this seemed like the perfect opportunity,” Tompkins said.

The group has even received responses sharing what has been done with the group’s donations. Lurie Children’s Hospital with the Extra Life organization informed the group that their donations allowed for the upgrade of new high-tech beds for children in their cancer ward, according to Payano.

The hospital also awarded the teachers with medals recognizing their contributions (see picture).

“If we work hard and save just one kid, then it’s all worth it,” Tompkins said.

Payano, who shares his Rotten Apples involvement with his orchestra and general music classes at Lane, says that service will always be there to motivate him.

“I always say to my students, ‘Nothing will make you feel better than making someone else feel good about themselves,’” Payano said.