For some a small, everyday events may be taken for granted and overlooked, but the students at the Smith-Cotton Junior High School found out on Friday, how meaningful simple occurrences like breathing and walking can be in the life of another.
Students at the school were given the opportunity to pay $1 to walk during their social studies classes to help find a cure and raise funds to support the patients and families of cancer patients.
“I think we all know someone who has been affected by cancer in some way,” Megan Sparks, librarian at the junior high said. “We wanted to find a way to help support the Pettis County relay for life because we know that all of our students can be there to form a team or help the event.
“We thought it would be neat idea to let the students create team during the day and walk during a class period,” Sparks added. “We are hoping to raise $1,000 today to help support the cause.”
The students also had the opportunity to compete in a number of activities during the walk if they chose to do so.
“We had a number of games and activities planned for the students including a cup stacking competition and a lawn dart and balloon volleyball contest,” Sparks said. “Mrs. (Tisha) Petree our FCCLA teacher and her students had a bake sale during the event to raise funds too and the cooks had baked items for sale during lunch.
“Students who donated $1 could write the name of a loved one on one of the paper butterflies we have that we are going to use to decorate our tent at the Relay for Life,” she added. “At the end of the day we are going to have all of the students come outside and we will blow bubbles in memory of cancer victims but also those who are still living with cancer and are cancer survivors.”
To help make other aware of the event several of Sparks’ library aides created a video.
“At first I was a little iffy about the project,” Claudia Gonzalez said. “We really wanted to get the lines right and make it really natural.
“We talked to people about someone special they knew who had battled cancer,” Gonzalez added. “Even though I was worried at first, in the end I think it turned out really well.”
Gonzalez knows what it is like to have lost a loved one to cancer.
Her younger sister Aracely “Cely” Gonzalez died in February after a nine-month battle with a brain tumor.
“When you lose someone you can’t just give up,” Gonzalez said. “You have to find a way to go on and think through and try to find the positives because it’s not the end; there are things ahead for them.”
Brianna Barth, a sixth grade student at the junior high also knows about loss.
Her brother, Devon Grose, 19, was killed in a motorcycle accident on April 14.
The sixth grade students joined her in a moment of silence and watched as 19 balloons were released in his memory prior to the conclusion of the day and the bubble event.
“A lot of our students paid for others to have the opportunity to participate today,” Sparks said. “I am very proud of how well behaved they were today and I am proud and grateful for their kindness and willingness to help others.”
A team of teachers and staff from the junior high, Team Madagascar are planning to participate in the Pettis County Relay for Life on June 11 at the Jennie Jaynes Activity Complex and, Tiger Stadium at Smith-Cotton High School.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484