Students raise over $7,000

Avonworth students celebrate a successful fund-raising campaign to help find a cure for a rare disease suffered by classmate Jay Foster, pictured here.

The week of Feb. 25-March 1 at Avonworth High School included all of the regularly scheduled classes and academic activities, but it was not exactly the typical school week.

There were board games -- Settlers of Catan, Chess, Trivia, Blokus -- supervised by teachers Tony Cario and Len Tena and played by students in the library on mornings before classes began. Sales of t-shirts with the message, “Show UR Rare.” Coin challenges among grades 9-12. Dodge ball competitions in the gym. Face painting ($1 per paint). On-line auctions of items that ranged from youth swimming lessons to poster collages.

A rally in the gym with students from grades 9-12 gathered to celebrate their four-day accomplishment related to all of these activities: Over $7,000 raised to support the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) which is fighting to find a cure for Friedreich ataxia, a disease that afflicts their classmate, freshman Jay Foster. The illness, for now, is incurable, but Jay's positive spirit provides proof positive that incurable is on the way to becoming curable.

Happily shocked by all of the support from fellow students who met him just a few months ago when his family moved here from Virginia, Jay responded with a brief but poignant comment: “I didn't realize how supportive a small student body was, not until I gave them the chance.”