Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today We Walk

Yesterday was our district's annual "Cadets for a Cause" Day. ( I wrote about it last year here). Every building in the district was there, plus the parochialIt was a beautiful day and there were lots of activities going on:

The high school kids went to activities like this rock climbing wall. There was kickball, dodgeball and paintball to keep them busy also.

And, of course, they walked in memory of those they knew with cancer or had lost to cancer.  As a journal topic in creative writing the day before, I asked my students who they were walking for on Wednesday.  Every student, but one, had someone in their life to walk for.  1 out of 40.

Some took some time out to dance to the music the DJ was playing.

There were lots of activities for the elementary and junior high students also. Many of our high school kids helped out at these activities.  There was soccer and bouncy houses and the ever popular train!

Of course, no school activity is complete without food!  In an effort to help our students learn healthy eating habits, there was a smoothy station, a "taste the rainbow" station with fruits and vegetables to try, a milk station, and bottled water and string cheese.

Once, the time for activities was over, all K-12 students gathered in the stands at the football stadium. We were joined, as always, by many members of the community.

Our speaker from the "Live Strong" organization had people in the bleachers stand up if they were survivors, then had people stand if they had someone in their family affected by cancer, and then if they knew someone with cancer or who had lost their battle with cancer.  By then, most were standing.  It's a powerful scene.

When he was done, one of our seniors, whose 23-year-old brother was just diagnosed with cancer at the end of March also spoke. She read his words from his Caring Bridge page.

The district's students raised over $7000 this year. The money was divided between our local cancer association and St. Jude's Children's Hospital.  A canned food drive was also held this last week.  The food bank was amazed when the food was delivered to them, and very thankful. Their coffers were getting low!

The culmination of this annual event has traditionally been a survivor walk, but this year, the survivors met on the football field and were given yellow balloons, which were later released.

And then, to lighten the mood, when the event was over, all K-12 students, and many teachers, gathered on the football field to do the Interlude (a dance made up by University of Northern Iowa students that has gone viral.  Look it up on YouTube!)  As I've said many times, we don't just teach reading and writing and math.  Sometimes, we teach compassion.....

Photo by Tanya Riehle
See more of her amazing art work at


  1. Hi Deb!

    Awesome school activity! I am amazed that majority of your students have been affected or know someone who has been affected by cancer. My mom has breast cancer, so to see young students making a difference is overwhelming for me. This IS real life learning.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mandy,
      We have had several teachers and students with cancer. But it is amazing to me every year when we talk about this just how many have family members affected by cancer...even the little ones

  2. Wow, what an incredible event! Your post brought tears to my eyes just imagining how it must have affected all the students and community members. A neat coincidence that your posted this today, Thursday, because every Thursday everyone at my current school wears purple in honor of a teacher who has pancreatic cancer. It's been going for three years now (he has been fighting all this time!) and is a really amazing thing to see our school come together every week in support of him. Your event sounds wonderful!

  3. It sounds like such a special community event, Deb. How great for the students to be able to show their concern for others too. Thanks for all the good photos too-makes it real to see the different pllaces.

  4. Teaching compassion is probably one of the most important things we could ever teach our kids. This sounds like an amazing event. Thanks for sharing all the photos as well. I like that you give the yellow balloons to the survivors and release them.
    --jee young

  5. Great photos and even better post!!!