Calllen Doyle

Rockford schools rally around Relay—Part II

May 24, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER This is a continued summary of what each school in Rockford Public Schools has come up with to contribute to the Rockford Relay for Life. Encouraging each school to organize their own fundraiser has been a goal of Relay organizers from year one. Last Friday through Saturday, May 18-19, from 3 p.m. to 3 p.m. was the town’s 10th Relay for Life event. “We actually lost a couple staff members to cancer, so it hits close to home for us,” said Doug VanderJagt, Rockford Freshman Center principal. “Knowing people gives you another reason to want to be involved with Relay for Life,” said Deb Gibson, a co-captain of the freshman center’s team and a counselor there. Events include a Buffalo Wild Wings dinner, jeans days, luminary sales, bake sales, putting feet around the building and T-shirt sales. “Our goal is to get as many people involved and just make as much as we can,” Gibson said. “Some years that may be $3,000 and others $5,000. This just pulls us together as a staff. It’s been a unifying experience to have a team. It’s about the spirit of Relay for us.” Losing former principal Ron Faurot and teacher Bev Finch has made the school extremely supportive. The team is named after the staff members and the first team was pulled together in memory of Finch as she passed away shortly before the Relay for Life in 2008. “It was almost a grief project the first year for staff to help us get through the loss,” Gibson said. Faurot, who had moved on from Rockford but was remembered by staff, passed away in September 2009. “Relay for Life has been a good way for us to focus some of that grief and hope and anger and celebration,” Gibson said. “It’s also a time for remembering. It’s been a very significant experience for us.” Frank Schiller, a high school teacher, who lost a battle to leukemia, also had taught at the freshman center before moving on to the high school. Schiller also had taught at the middle school. Dan Zang, Rockford High School principal, said a big goal at the high school is to encourage involvement. “Students are involved in a myriad of capacities,” […]