By Doug Maloney, Norcross High School
It was a soul stirring night at Gwinnett Relay for Life last Friday and we are so appreciative of all of your support as we pushed, prodded, emailed (again and again and again...) in our advocacy and fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society.
The result: The Norcross High School Relay for Life team raised a total of $86,275.99.
Those of you who attended on Friday witnessed how incredible our kids are at Relay. Their support during the survivor lap was heartwarming, their spirit during our school lap (and all night long) was inspiring, their emotion and reverence during the luminary lap (a silent lap by candlelight remembering those who have lost their bout with cancer) was powerful. Other great Norcross Highlights from the night include:
- NHS students kicking off the event on stage with a live band, including the debut of "How We Relay," an original song composed by Jack Miller, Jonathan "S.T.A.T.I.C." Burks, and Josh "OShea" Jones
- The NHS Drum Line leading the Kid's Walk Lap
- Our incredible Western themed campsite, complete with General Store, Saloon, and Bank, earned 1st place campsite
- Our incredible kids were the highest placing school in the spirit competition, earning 2nd place overall
- Our team's fundraising success - Our team fundraising was the 2nd highest
amount in the county (including church, corporate, civic, and school
groups) and Gwinnett Relay raised approximately $1.5 million for the
American Cancer Society.
Our school's success at Relay is the community effort of many and we could
not have had such a successful event without it. We'd like to especially
thank the following people/groups:
- Our students - the backbone of our Relay success and spirit. They were troopers from 4 p.m., Friday - 3 p.m, Saturday (when we unloaded all of campsite materials back at Norcross High School.)
- Our faculty - you've let us invade your classrooms with Min to Win,
you've signed up for crazy fundraising challenges, been pied in the face,
dunked into ICE COLD water, donated personally in the name of JEANS, and so
many more things. Your impact has been tremendous! Extra thanks also to
the following folks who have helped sponsor special events and activities
along the way:
- Our faculty members who made the trek to the Fairgrounds on Friday
to support us on site - Ellen Sumner, Rick Donahue, Robert and Linda Katz, Phyllis Gerard, Jen Lund, Robyn Eder, Emily Russell, Elizabeth Frisbee, Martha Cook, Widny Cruz, Keren Coronado-Mendez, Erin Jackson, Carisa Lindsay, Nia Vaughn, Shawn Wilson, Norma Rosales, and Cindy Reyes (our apologies if we missed you, we tried to keep a running list!)
- Kirk Barton and our athletic coaches for many PINK OUTS, etc.
- The Marchmans for fantastic work w/the Carnival
- Colette Reed, Cheri Singleton, and their team for the Talent Show
- Elizabeth Frisbee and Nia Vaughn for attending/chaperoning countless Relay events
- Ellen Sumner, Shawn Wilson, and Megan Burns for their fantastic
work getting our ESOL kids involved in Relay
- Joe Floyd for always finding a way to sneak Relay for Life Announcements into the schedule (and for the Road to Recovery car!)
- Keren Coronado-Mendez, Iris Mendoza, Rosalva Pena, and the rest of
the LA VOZ sponsors for getting those kids involved and hosting countless
bake sales and tamale sales.
- Alex Knight for the NSLT Car Wash
- Rick Donahue, our resident chef and spirit brigade, for his wonderful faculty luncheon and for grilling on site for us on Friday
- Norma and her $$$ ladies - they have counted and rolled who knows
how many coins, kept our funds organized all year long, and been tremendous
supporters of Relay for years. We are very lucky to have them all!
- Mr. Bishop and our Administration - your support, trust, and approval of
all of our fundraising ideas has been unbelievable. Every other school
always asks us how we are so successful and we tell them we have endless
support from you all to come up with our crazy ideas, etc.
- Richard Southerland and his construction team - the "man behind the
campsite." Richard logged probably 400+ hours himself helping our students
build our incredible campsite. His patience and guidance while working
with them is fantastic and we are ever so appreciative of all of his
involvement with Relay.
On Saturday at 3 p.m. as we finished putting away the wood from our town, a few students asked if it was worth it to win best campsite and we had to say yes. Our work means something to our survivors. Many of them stop by our site and tell us that they come to Relay just to see Norcross and our kids because they we embody the meaning of Relay. They love us. Friday night made it all worthwhile.
- Aaron Feldser (former NHS teacher) - Aaron printed and "stained" all of
our WANTED posters, campsite dedications, etc to help give our campsite
that extra western look. He and Phyllis Gerard also went and bought us two
brand new grills on Friday when ours wouldn't work!
- The Chapin family for donating all of our cook-out food at Relay
- The NHS Foundation for Excellence and the PTSA for providing plenty of
support throughout the year.
Norcross High School is a special place. You all make it that way. Thank you so much for your incredible support of Norcross Relay for Life!
Editor's note: Doug Mahoney is the Assistant Band Director and Relay for Life Co-Chair at Norcross High.