ROXBURY, NJ (March 29, 2019) – Schools in Roxbury Township had a reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend, not for all things Irish, but for the amount of money they raised to fight pediatric cancer. Out of three events held between March 15th and 16th, the district raised more than $108,000.
During the day, Lincoln/Roosevelt and Kennedy Elementary School each hosted a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation that assists families whose children are battling cancer. Lincoln/Roosevelt had extra support once again from Franklin students. Thirty-one fifth and six graders from LRS shaved their heads while Franklin had 11 participants.
Lincoln/Roosevelt has been hosting St. Baldrick’s events for the last ten years according to Jim McDermott, PE teacher and event organizer at LRS. He shared with the kids that since this began at LRS, they’ve raised $258,000. This year’s total as of the Friday event was $14,788. McDermott also shared that sixth grader, Michael Stigliano had raised over $1,800 by the day of the event.
“Events like this allow students to see their classmates put the needs of others before themselves and help to raise funds to find a cure for childhood cancer. I think having fellow students and people that have been affected by this horrible disease come and share their stories with our students is an eye-opening experience.”
McDermott is 100% correct in this thinking and it hit close to home this year. LRS had an extra special guest of honor who was none other than Matt Adonis, a fifth-grader at the school who missed much of last year battling cancer. He is back to school after going to through cancer treatments for a year and as he proclaimed, “My mohawk is back and I’m playing sports again!”
Students and parents last year and this year were spotted with their “Team Matt” shirts to show their continued support for Matt and his family.
This year’s participants from Lincoln/Roosevelt were Grade 6 – Jake Arteaga, Connor Brunton, James DeChristofano, Jake Donnelly, Brady Giammarino, Tyler Johnston, Ryan Reonieri, Michael Stigliano, Vineet Varghese, Griffin Warsaw, Jake White, and Grade 5 – Matthew Adonis, Logan Batsch, Soham Bhagavatula, Vincent Bitetto, Brady Boryeskne, Conrad Boyle, Michael Eible-Dunlap, Ethan Everett, Jason Gabrielson, Jonah Kali, Nathan Milun, Danilo Molina, Matthew Navarra, Andres O’Brien, Christos Paxos, Leonardo Picone, Aaron Pineiro, Alexander Potocki, Henry Smith, and Eduardo Vargas.
Franklin’s participants were Grade 4 – Dominick DeMarco, William Connolly, Matthew Donnelly, Jimmy Murphy, Grade 3 – Jaret Haupt, Nolan Montalbano, Daniel Rendon, Brady Steirch, Grade 2 – Nicholas Pecorella, Sebastian Sanabria, and Grade 1 – Jacob Milun.
A handful of participants were recognized as being a part of St. Baldrick’s League of Legendary Heroes which recognizes milestones in their dedication to fight pediatric cancer. The following reached new ranks: Squire –James DeChristofano (3 years), Jimmy Murphy (3 years), Dominick DeMarco (3 years), Leonardo Picone (3 years), Connor Boyle (3 years), Henry Smith (3 years), Brady Stierch (3 years), Billy Connolly (4 years), Vineet Varghese (4 years), Brady Giammarino (4 years), Ryan Reonieri (4 years), John Kali (4 years), Teresa Webb (5 years, barber), Michael Stigliano (5 years), Jason Gabrielson (5 years), Laura Kemmerer (6 years, barber), Knight – Joe Pinto (8 years), Cindy Perez (8 years, secretary/treasurer), and Commander – Jim McDermott (11 years).
This event would not have been possible without the barbers who donated their time for this worthy cause. A special thank you to the LRS team: Laura Kemmerer and Jordan Babiak from City Looks in Newton, Kathy Benemerito from Dominick’s Barber Shop and Salon in Landing, Kevin Culleny from Cuts by Kevin in Kenvil, Terri Webb from the Spa at Randolph, and Morgan Hairston (former student of McDermott’s) from Pampered Princess in Sparta.
Kennedy Elementary School with the extra help from Jefferson students also had a great event that raised over $11,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Twenty-nine students from Kennedy School had their hair cut or shaved. Those students were Grade 4 – Jordan Agosto, Drew Malone, Jacob Schuchman, Beau Wawrin, Niko White, Annabelle Wilson (Donated Hair), Grade 3 – Cesar Chico, TJ Hellner, Matthew Hypes, AJ Montrose, Ethan Pineiro, Daniel Recchia, Christian Tummino, PJ Zoesch, Grade 2 – Joshua Ayer, Francesca Celeste (Donated Hair), Ricky Pennisi, Parker Sakellaropoulos, Tamsin Wawrin (Donated Hair), Grade 1 – Luke Feind, Collin Hild, Heath Jackson, Kyler Mitschele, Cole Mayernick, Bradley Staples, Kindergarten – Nicholas Dellavalle, Benjamin Gonzalez, Nicholas Uccello.
Six students and two parents from Jefferson School also participated. They were Grade 4 – Patrick Shivas, Grade 3 – Anthony Blakut, Ashley Gallagher, Molly Gallagher, Ryan Parker, Raymond Stednitz, and Parents -- Melissa Shivas (Donated Hair), and Cheryl Blakut (Donated Hair).
A special thanks goes to the Kennedy Shavers which included Ricky Pennisi, owner of Atelier Salon and Spa who has supported the event all five years, his two employees Gloria Bloom and Marianne Silvia, along with Kennedy Cafeteria Aide Dina Corsi and Kennedy Aide and parent Christine Gonzalez.
Kennedy’s Early Act Club arranged to have a leprechaun (Steve Alford from the Roxbury Rotary) show up once again at the St. Baldrick’s event to have students take their pictures with him as an additional fundraiser for the event. Students could pay $1 for a picture with the leprechaun. The Club raised an additional $335!
Roxbury High School’s Mini-THON was that Friday night into Saturday morning where more than 500 Roxbury High Schools students (more than 1/3 of the school) and a handful of Eisenhower Middle School eighth graders, danced the night away to a beach theme to raise money and support for the fight against pediatric cancer in the Roxbury High School gymnasium.
Funds raised from this event will be donated to the Four Diamonds, which covers medical bills for families as well as cancer research.
Over the past five years, the RHS mini-THON team raised more than $170,000 and set an ambitious goal of $80,000 for this year, which they reached and more.
Mini-THON co-advisor and high school teacher, Mike Gottfried shared, “After six years of being involved in mini-THON, our students, faculty, and community never cease to amaze me. Despite every amazing effort, we always somehow top it the following year.”
RHS junior Tori Gonzalez agreed, “I was amazed and proud of everyone who came together for one common cause. I feel honored to be a part of something amazing and I’m excited for next year!”
They’re right. This year’s mini-THON raised $82,411.82! This is the last year though of having a monetary goal. Gottfried mentioned, “There comes a point where it’s unrealistic to look for financial growth, and the focus shifts to broadening our impact and awareness by involving more people.”
Events like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of individuals and companies who donated their time and talent. “Many of Roxbury’s local businesses, teachers, and parents chipped in to make this event possible. Some of them include Baseline Productions (DJ), DJ Ego (Mt. Olive student), American Sound & Stage (light and sound), Roxbury Fire Co. 1 (EMTs for our event), Dezine Line (apparel), Buddy’s Small Lots, Food Donors: Riviera Maya, Gusto 46, Joe’s Pizza, Roxbury Bagels, Black River Barn, and Cliff’s.
Roxbury’s mini-THON takes countless hours of planning and fundraising. Between the 22 leaders and advisors, they logged over 5,500 hours combined. This year’s team of captains included Robbie Waldron (Gr 11) , Victoria Gonzalez (Gr 11), Anthony Shafron (Gr 12), Sarah Attieh (Gr 11), Alison Harbinsky (Gr 11), Rachel Feliciano (Gr 10), Ileana Gonzalez (Gr 10), Holly Van Ness (Gr 11), Julia Grodzki (Gr 10), Justin Picciutto (Gr 10), Alexa Cleffi (Gr 12), Lauren Van Horne (Gr 12), Ryleigh Coakley (Gr 11), Joe Mills (Gr 12), Tori Peia (Gr 10), Shaday Gibson (Gr 10), Maddie Taggart (Gr 11), Adam Reingold (Gr 11), and advisors Mike Gottfried, Joe Filoramo, Casey OBraitis, Kaitlyn Oster, Reid Meeker, and Dan Coiro.
Together they organized to put on an all-night fun fest with games of volleyball, dodgeball, Kan jam, spike ball, giant Jenga, corn hole, video game rooms, among others. They also had lip sync battles and two bands perform. New this year were incentives by staff members as the community reached certain goals. Paul Wood, Mike Baldino, and Alan Smarz had their heads shaved. Baldino and Smarz had their heads shaved the night of the event. Gottfried and Kellie Damelio had their hair dyed pink. Ryan Gibson had to glitter his beard. Meg Fagan couldn’t talk for a day and Casey OBraitis and Kate Oster did a duet on stage.
Back in February, Roxbury’s mini-THON leaders and advisors attended the annual Penn State THON event which culminated in a 46-hour dance marathon and were headed back last week to take a tour of Penn State Children’s Hospital. They were offered six spots. Attending were juniors Robbie Waldron, Sarah Attieh, and Victoria Gonzalez along with seniors Anthony Shafron and Alison Harbinsky.
These students were shown how their hard work and fundraising efforts are applied as well as the holistic care Four Diamonds provides.
“We were impressed with the quality of care they provided and how positive an experience they try to make it for each family,” said Gottfried.
Senior Anthony Shafron explained, “Everyone knows we’re fighting for the kids, but going to the event puts a face to the cause.” At the February event, mini-THON leaders got to meet their Four Diamonds family, Ashlyn Brysiak, which very few mini-THONs are fortunate enough to be paired with a family.
Gonzalez shared, “It’s not about how much you raise, but what you’re doing for the families and their children. It was powerful to hear our impact in terms of hours of music therapy, number of treatments, etc.”
PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Schools)
- * RHS mini-THON Total Reveal
- * Gibson Gets Glittered
- * Kennedy St Baldricks Group Picture
- * Franklin St Baldricks Group Picture
- * Kennedy Shavers (L to R): Gloria Bloom, Marianne Silvia, Ricky Pennisi, and Dina Corsi
- * Kennedy Organizers – Jennifer Perhacs and Heidi Bagonis
- * Michael Stigliano
- * Matt Adonis talks about this battle – Matt Adonis with twin sister Madyson
- * Matt Adonis gets ready to shave LRS Principal Chris Argenziano’s beard
- * Matt Adonis shaves Mr Argenziano’s beard
- * Asst Principal Brian Hamer gets head shaved
- * Matt Adonis gets his mohawk back
- * Matt Adonis talks about getting his mohawk back
- * Matt Adonis, Jim McDermott, and Madyson Adonis
- * LRS Assistant Principal Brian Hamer, PE Teacher/Event Organizer Jim McDermott, and LRS Principal Chris Argenziano
- * Gallaghers get their head shaved
- * Gallaghers after they have their heads shaved for pediatric cancer
- * Kellie Damelio, Paul Wood, and Mike Gottfried after incentives were reached
- * Matt Adonis with fellow shavees (L to R): Sitting: Ethan Everett, Lagan Batsch, Vincent Bitetto, Standing: Christos Paxos and Matt Adonis
- * LRS St Baldricks (L to R): Soham Bhagavatula, Andres O’Brien, and Henry Smith
- * Roxbury raises funds for pediatric cancer
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