Bridge Street School Taking on Cancer

When tragedy strikes, there is nothing more important than the support of a family – something Bridge Street Middle School Principal Raquel Welch knows well.

To show their support for students who have lost family or friends to cancer, Bridge Street students raised $3,000 for the American Cancer Society with their third annual Relay for Life on Thursday, an event that has tripled in participation since its beginning three years ago.

“We started this two years ago when a student had a family member who had recently been diagnosed with cancer and said that they would like to do a fundraiser to raise awareness,” Welch said. “So we thought Relay for Life would be a great way for the students to get funds, be active and do it as a school community together.”

Welch stressed the importance of showing students that cancer can affect anyone, including the adults they know at the school. Welch said Bridge Street Middle School counselor and event organizer Heather Lewis lost her sister to cancer three years ago; five years ago, Welch lost her own father.

“I think it’s an outlet for the emotions of figuring out how to deal with a loss. Anyone can raise money and bring it in, but by doing the relay they are doing it together. They’re walking, they’re talking with one another, they’re sharing experiences and stories,” Welch said. “It’s a serious topic, but it’s also a fun activity for the students to participate in.”

More than 100 students with matching “Relay for Life” T-shirts enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather while walking laps around the blacktop to upbeat music played by Assistant Principal Joe Kolb. The students took breaks to dance to the “Cupid Shuffle” and the “Cha Cha Slide” and to claim prizes for their donations.

“It’s amazing – these kids are wonderful,” Lewis said. “The kids continue to impress by their fundraising and generosity. I’m so proud of them. This morning students were still approaching me to ask if they could contribute. It’s a wonderful cause, and it’s a fun event.”