Each year, the city of Calera hosts a city wide “Calera Goes Pink” month-long event to raise awareness and help fund research toward a cure for breast cancer. Local businesses, schools, and civic organizations decorate their facilities in pink themes to spread awareness.
Since its inception, students at Calera High School have been very involved in helping the city honor those who have fought cancer and celebrate breast cancer survivors. Each year, students also raise money to donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.
This year, the cheerleaders, art students, and members of FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) decorated the front hall of Calera High with a superhero theme including buildings on the walls, super hero symbols in the sky, and other pink decorations. There was also a wall that recognized family members who are super survivors.
Faculty and staff decorated their doors for breast cancer awareness and prizes were awarded for the first, second, and third place door winners. Students sold pink ribbons, pink shakers, pink beads, and pink thunder sticks to donate to Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BSRFA). Calera High students and teachers helped to raise $6,700 to donate to the BCRFA. Calera schools as a whole raised nearly $13,000 this year.
At the pep rally on Friday, students held a moment of silence to remember all of those that have battled breast cancer and recognized one of their own super-heroes – media specialist, Rebecca McKenzie. After the pep rally, a tearful Mrs. McKenzie said, “I am so joyful to have my health restored after my fight with cancer and so blessed to have so many caring people at Calera High School to share that joy with me.”
Principal Joel Dixon believes allowing the students to honor one of their teachers helps students realize how close to home cancer really is.
“I asked students to raise their hands if anyone in their families had been affected by breast cancer. Nearly everyone raised their hands.” said Dixon. “You could have heard a pin drop in the gym at that point. I think moments like these helps kids look within their own lives while building a sense of connectedness with their classmates. When we then brought Ms. McKenzie out to honor her fight and celebrate her survival, the place went wild. It was one of those moments that made the staff so very proud of our kids!”
On Friday night, members of the peer helpers and FCCLA added pink decorations to the football stadium, sold cotton candy and pink lemonade, painted children’s faces, and “pinked out” the Calera vs. Jemison football game to raise awareness.
“I lost my grandmother to breast cancer and I’m proud to be a part of this awesome event,” said FCCLA member, Shantavia Wilson. She also participated in Saturday’s events with the ROTC as they presented the flag at the little league football games.
Organizer of the city wide event, Kate Kiefer, said, “There was so much excitement surrounding all of the events and a very obvious commitment by everyone involved. I am humbled to work with each of you and cannot tell you what it means for breast cancer research.”