Looking for a way to honor teacher Marti Capaforte’s battle against cancer, Lufkin Road Middle School decided to transform its annual field day into fundraiser.
The results of the event were more than the school staff ever dared to imagine.
The Hope Games recently raised a total of $6,252 for the American Cancer Society. Combined with the efforts of the school’s Relay for Life team, the Lufkin Road community raised an astonishing $11,578.45 in just the past few weeks.
“We decided that we wanted to do something for Marti,” said seventh grade counselor Katherine Blanton. “We had our field day coming up and Marti always enjoyed that so we decided on holding the Hope Games.”
Each class became involved in the “Change for Cancer” contest that encouraged students to donate their spare change. The students not only participated but became deeply motivated to raise as much money as possible.
“The students really got involved,” said teacher Sara DeMarco. “There were graphs set up all around the school showing how much money each class was raising. It turned into a competition for a good cause.”
The high level of involvement from the Lufkin Road community prompted the Hope Games committee to slightly adjust their plans. More than 100 parents volunteered to help with the games.
“It originally started as something for Marti,” said teacher Rob Weidenburner. “But then we had so many students, parents and faculty getting involved because of a personal connection with someone with cancer. So we kept Marti in mind but made the event applicable for everyone. ‘Hope’ is the most important word for everyone with cancer so we tied it in to what we were doing.”
The amount of money raised by the students caught everyone off guard.
‘We never expected $6,000 in donations,” said DeMarco. “I think we were all surprised by that.”
Faculty wore purple shirts during the event that had “Hope” on the front and Capaforte’s favorite saying – “Have a great day on purpose” – on the back. The entire event promoted cancer awareness and offered ways to get involved in helping the American Cancer Society.
At the end of the event, students and faculty stood on the adjacent field and spelled out the word ‘Hope’ with Capaforte watching from the roof of the school.
“It was a surprise for the students,” said Weidenburner. “When we announced that Marti was there everyone went wild.”
“It was a little emotional,” said Blanton.
Lufkin Road is planning to make the Hope Games an annual event.