BEALLSVILLE In Beallsville, when it comes to cancer, no one fights alone. This was evident in an assembly which was held Thursday in the Beallsville High School gymnasium to announce the total amount of money collected during the 2013 Rally for Life campaign and disperse checks to cancer patients in the community.
The theme for this year was coined by BHS music instructor, Charles Monticello, "What are the possibilities if we give a lot bit?" Monticello announced that the students had risen to his challenge and when the final tally was revealed, the total stunned everyone. Shirley Brown, director of the Gas Card Program and Lisa Burkhart, site manager for the Wes Banco Bank in Beallsville, revealed a banner illustrating an astounding $45,455.64 had been raised by the students.
"It is awe inspiring," said Delmas Moore, chairman of the Beallsville Relay for Life Committee told the assembly. "I honestly thought that last year when we reached $31,000, that would be the high water mark, but once again you have exceeded my expectations."
T-L Photos/MIKE PALMER
Drum Roll Please: Lisa Burkhart, Site Manager for the WesBanco Bank in Beallsville and Shirley Brown, director of the Monroe County Gas Card Program reveal a banner illustrating an astounding $45,455.64 which was raised by the Rally for Life program, at the school.
"The majority of the money is raised by our students here at Beallsville Elementary and High School and the remainder comes from community volunteers, as Blue Devils this makes us so very proud," Moore told the over 400 students in the gymnasium as he choked back tears on an emotional day.
Moore explained that the fundraising stretches across the entire school year, involving students and teachers from K-12 and preschool in projects that included students collecting pennies, selling baked goods, cardboard racers, yard sales, t-shirts, car wash, there was a Hee Haw Variety Show, raffling off items including a lawn mower and the bucket brigade consisting of volunteers from the community.
Lori Wickham, serves as a Literature and English teacher at BHS. She teaches English 9, 10, 11, and 12; she also teaches 8th and HS Art. The teacher told students back in January that she had not cut her hair in 13 years and it was now five feet long. She pledged cut off one foot for each $500 raised for her hair challenge,
With some creative book keeping from Mr. Moore the total of $2500 was reached and Wickham went through with the hair cut during the assembly. Jim Woofter from Our Place For Family Hair Care in Moundsville, WV cropped the locks and Wickham modeled her new look for the students who applauded as she held up her hair which will be donated to Locks of Love. Woofter had cleared his appointment calendar and donated his time for the assembly.?
There were also some other new additions with a breakfast, car show, quilt show and donations from the community that helped raise the total for this year above the projected goal.
Another change for the program, the ceremony was a little different this year with a line of students, teachers and residents all stepping forward with symbolic deposits to be placed in the mock bank set up in the gymnasium .
"It took a long time to parade all those people," said Mr. Moore. "But we felt it was important to give them some recognition because it is truly a team effort."
The Beallsville program is unique because parts of the proceeds are given directly to community members who are cancer patients or have family members who have been undergoing treatments for cancer.
This year the student's generosity allowed the committee to give $2,200 to 16 recipients. Pat Ferguson, Vince Wineman, Cecil Craig, Pastpr Cox, Sina Ingold, John Rusick, Margaret Daugherty, Jonna Magyar, Brittany Townson (Crooks), Diana Decker, Jonathan Morgan, Cliff Truex, Lisa Pittman, Payton Ward and the Times Leader's own Rich "Hoot" Gibson all received checks at the ceremony.
"The last three received checks back in January based on our projected total" said Lou (Scooter) Tolzda, chairman of the event, "We gave them checks to make up the difference."
The Monroe County Gas Card Program received a check for the remainder of the money raised.
Special awards were presented to teachers, committee members and community volunteers
"We could not have made it this far without them," Moore added. "Next year you will have to step it up, because half of the teachers you see here today will not be with us next year."
The school is receiving cuts in staff and eliminating 14 teaching positions due to the failure of the recent levy.
"I just want to say that this has never been about 'me'" Moore explained to the students that as of Thursday no one knew their fate for certain with the exception of a few long tenured teachers who would be retiring. "It is about us, what 'we' can do."
"On behalf of everyone at Beallsville schools we would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone in the community who helped out and supported the Rally for Life." Moore stated, "We have been an inspiration to other schools, groups and communities and my hope is we will continue to be in the future."
The assembly was not all somber as the fundraiser allowing students to give their favorite teacher a pie in the face brought laughter back into the gymnasium. Several teachers got a pie in the face from students drawn from a bowl with names including Principal Mr. Fuchs who took two, "because he is principal of both the elementary and high school."
According to Mr, Moore an additional $353 came in on Thursday and was added to the total bringing the total raised since the program began in 2008 to $153,099.10. Impressive for a small school with just over 400 students.
Palmer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org