Students at Muscle Shoals Middle School and career technical students at Deshler High School are raising money for cancer research as well as to help two teachers who were recently diagnosed with cancer.
The fundraiser efforts began at the two schools Oct. 1 in connection with October being breast cancer awareness month.
Muscle Shoals Middle School is raising money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, for breast cancer research, while the career tech students at Deshler are collecting money for the Liz Hurley Foundation.
Teachers at each school have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“All week we have things planned with the emphasis on breast cancer awareness,” said Heather Faulkner, a family and consumer science teacher at Deshler, who is helping to organize the week’s events. “Every day, we will be doing something to raise awareness and money.”
Throughout this week the students will be passing out mints, selling breast cancer bracelets and ribbon cookies, and pink T-shirts.
“We have jars set up in the lunchroom with photos of faculty members including the superintendent and the principal, and the students can drop money in them,” Faulkner said.
She said the faculty members who raise the most money will be in for a special treat during Friday’s prep rally.
“The top money raiser will be kissing a pig and the second place money raiser will be kissing a goat,” Faulkner said.
A schoolwide assembly kicked off this year’s service project at Muscle Shoals Middle School.
Organizer Melanie Calvert said the school chose breast cancer as its cause because “it’s hitting our school home this year and one of our teachers is affected right now by breast cancer.”
“Everyone has been touched in some way by this disease and we have many (employees and parents) who’ve battled this,” she said. “It’s a little way of being able to help when you feel helpless. It’s honoring our friend and all the others who’ve gone through this ordeal.”
Last year, the school joined with Muscle Shoals High School students to raise $6,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A former Muscle Shoals Middle School teacher, John Ritter, who battled cancer during the school year, was the honoree for those efforts.
This year, students are purchasing specially designed pink T-shirts, which they’ll wear Oct. 16 at the Muscle Shoals Middle School football game in honor of the sixth-grade teacher. The players will wear pink socks and there will be a balloon release at halftime. Students are also purchasing pink paper ribbons to display at school for $1 each.
Eighth-grader Ryleigh Berry said classes throughout the school are competing to buy the most ribbons, and the winning class will be treated to doughnuts.
“This is our way of honoring that teacher and raising money for a worthy cause,” she said. “It’s better to be raising money for something so important, like research, than to raise it for something silly. We all know that the more we raise, the more research is funded and the quicker a cure is found.”
Deshler students will be selling balloons at Friday night’s football game. Faulkner said they will be released at halftime in memory of those diagnosed or who have died from breast cancer.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.
Senior Staff Writer Tom Smith contributed to this report.