Edison High School students raise $7,000 for Relay

HELPING THE CAUSE — Several hundred students at Edison High School took to the track on May 12 for the annual Relay For Life, where they raised more than $7,000 for the cause. Spirit Week and other events were held throughout the week to collect funds and culminated with the walk and a charity basketball game between seniors and faculty, where the teachers bested their students by a score of 50-18. This year’s event also held a special meaning since it paid tribute to sophomore cancer survivor Brandon Joyce, who died last month from unrelated causes. -- Contributed

RICHMOND — Edison High School marked one of its highest fundraising achievements yet after collecting more than $7,000 for the Jefferson County Relay For Life.

Students took to the track on May 12 following a week of moneymaking, which included dress up days for $1 and candle and daffodil sales from the Edison National Junior Beta Club. Friday’s clothing theme was superheroes and many students donned shirts reflecting their favorites.

The mini-relay event included a survivors’ lap featuring teacher Diane Sokol and aide Shelley Easter, and members of the Jefferson County Relay For Life sold luminarias for their event slated for June 17-18 at Indian Creek High School. This year’s theme is “Always Remember, Never Forget.”

This year’s mini-Relay was dedicated to sophomore Brandon Joyce, who was a six-year cancer survivor. He died on April 18 from unrelated causes. The son of Chris and Lori Joyce of Steubenville, he had been diagnosed in 2010 with multiple myeloma, a rare bone cancer generally found in adults. Brandon was one of only two reported juvenile cases found with the disease and underwent treatment for six months. He had been in remission since 2011 and was active in the Edison FFA.

Club adviser Jennifer Bahen was pleased with the school’s response.

“I’m just really proud of my students and how hard they worked to raise funds,” Bahen commented.

She said $7,000 was raised and counting, but final totals could put it over $8,000. The top fundraising student was seventh-grader Gavin Barnhouse, who raised $330 from neighbors and local organizations by writing solicitation letters. He received a baton, hat and shirt from the county Relay For Life and a $30 gift card from the school club. The top junior high classroom included the room of Katie Shultz with $522; Karen Meyer, $503; and Darlene Mason, $394; while high school homeroom was David Shultz’s class, which raised $292.

Survivors’ medals were presented to Sokol and Easter.

Sokol, a math teacher at EHS for the past 16 years, was diagnosed in 1997 with breast cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy in Pittsburgh. She is now in remission but said the experience has made her grateful for each day.

“It’s an absolute miracle that I was able to survive and keep going,” she said. “I thank God every day and pray for the people who have cancer and the families of those who didn’t make it.”

Easter, who has served as an aide for the past two years, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in December and had a radical removal of the impacted organ at the Cleveland Clinic in January. She is now back to work.

“It’s really put a perspective on things,” Easter added. “It affects everyone in many different ways. I learned so much this year in a short time.”

Following the walk, the crowd headed indoors for a charity basketball game between the seniors and faculty, which ended with the teachers besting the soon-to-be-graduates by a score of 50-18.

Principal Matt Morrison said the activities were for a worthy cause.

“Obviously we’re proud of our students,” he concluded.