By Aaron Retherford
Spaulding High School students haven’t been strangers to helping with good causes this spring.
The SHS Student Council helped The Autism Puzzle Foundation promote Autism Awareness during Light It Up Blue in Barre last month.
Now, the SHS junior class is helping a group of cancer survivors, who are planning a big event for this year’s National Cancer Survivor Weekend. “The Bury Cancer Parade” is set for June 6 in Barre and focuses on four themes: celebration, survivorship, honoring ones lost, and finding a cure.
“It all started when George Clain dropped his number off at the school for me. I gave him a call and he told me what he was doing. Right then, I felt pretty intrigued,” SHS junior class president Alex Arguin said. “Cancer is something that hits close to home for Spaulding and many people within Spaulding. I knew the junior class needed to take on this project.”
Clain is a cancer survivor and board member of the Vermont Cancer Survivor Network. Arguin said the two of them agreed that the youth voice is becoming more powerful and has more staying power.
That’s where the SHS junior class comes in to play. Arguin said there are about six people who are leading the project, including an artist, a public relations contact, float designer, committee adviser, and several brainstormers.
While the parade isn’t set until June, there is plenty of work to be done. Arguin said a dropbox in the school’s lobby will allow anyone to share stories, poems, art, or any other input. After collecting the offerings that will hopefully be published in a book, Arguin said the group plans to launch a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #survivorship, so the organization has the opportunity to go viral. The group will do the same thing on Instagram, and people can share images that mean something to them.
Topping it all off, the SHS Student Council will construct a float, which will be accompanied by a JROTC ensemble and the school band, for the Bury Cancer Parade next month.
“I’m very impressed with what we have accomplished over the last few weeks, this whole thing is a very powerful experience for a lot of us. From a family member to a friend to our own principal Mr. (Tom) Sedore, cancer affects us one way or another,” Arguin said. “The administration in our school has been more than helpful, even allowing us to take a field trip to National Life to explore from start to finish what patients have to go through.
“I never thought I’d have the chance to head such a large meaningful project, and I have to say I’m truly honored.”
It’s not just SHS students who are helping “Bury Cancer”. A headstone depicting the birth and “death” of cancer will be featured at the parade. It was donated by Scott Hutchins and was inscribed by Randy and Sue Walker of Family Memorials.
It is also inscribed with longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott’s quote, “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” Scott died of cancer at age 49 in January.
“The stone will become a visible permanent marker for cancer’s elimination,” Clain said.