By Leigh Prom
Cancer can be beat, but a thunderstorm cannot. Such was the case last Friday night at the Franklin County High School track as cancer survivors couldn’t halt the downpour of rain, claps of thunder and strikes of lightning.
Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Twenty-five teams are a part of Franklin County’s Relay for Life this year.
One of those teams is that of New Tech at Gereau. This team of 67 eighth-graders from the Gereau Center has raised $3,323.27, more than tripling its goal of $1,000.
The students are a part of New Tech, a project-based learning program in which students engage in projects which combine academics with opportunities for service within their communities.
The New Tech students began working on their project last fall when they were looking for a project idea to go along with the book A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness about a 13-year-old boy whose mother is dying of cancer. The book was a part of their English and Digital Input Technology (EDIT) class taught by Tina Arrington and Darnell Moore.
To raise money, the students sought help from family, friends and businesses. They also designed a T-shirt to sell at the Gereau Center and Benjamin Franklin Middle School.
The New Tech team raised money and reached out with acts of service by making cancer ribbons and writing letters to cancer survivors. The team also helped with dinners for survivors and team captains.
Co-leaders of the New Tech team are Morgan Lietz and Hannah Woodford. Mariah Quintrell handled the project’s funds and was in charge of filling 150 goodie bags for cancer survivors at a banquet held in their honor.
“I really enjoyed the project and being able to make a real difference in the community,” Quintrell said. “I enjoyed the opportunity to be a leader and do something to help out like I did with the Relay for Life project.”
“There is so much more to this event than just the event at the track. It’s brought everyone together for a cause,” Woodford added.
Arrington’s comments on the project, “I assumed the students would be able to raise a few hundred dollars to help the American Cancer Society out,” Arrington said. “However, their efforts absolutely exceeded everything I expected.”
Instead of just asking a few members of their family for support as Arrington had anticipated, the team went out to local businesses and asked for donations, sponsorships and door prizes.
“They were much more successful and motivated than I anticipated. The students really enjoyed having the opportunity to support the cancer survivors and our community,” Arrington said. “I am very proud of their accomplishments and the sense of agency that New Tech has instilled in them.”
The Franklin County Relay for Life celebration event has been rescheduled for July 13 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Franklin County High School track.
“We’d love for anyone and everyone to come out and join us July 13. It will be lots of fun for all ages,” said Cindy Cox, Community Development Manager for the Southeast Region of the American Cancer Society.