Temple Terrace Relay sprints to another great finish
TEMPLE TERRACE -
Hundreds turned out in the fight against cancer, but Terrace Community Middle School students were the ultimate stars of the show.
Of the $70,000 tallied so far from the 11th annual Temple Terrace Relay of Life at Greco Middle School on April 26 and 27, the school's more than 40-member team brought in more than $11,000, said event chairwoman Jamie Klingman.
All the money raised is turned over to the American Cancer Society which, in turn, uses it to fund its many services, programs and research projects.
“The TCMS Tornadoes were a force to be reckoned with,” Klingman said. “They were in every spirit contest all night long … and were the last ones to leave. For a second-year team, that's beyond amazing.”
Principal Tahvia Shaw said their primary motivation was to honor Josh Noland, a former student who died of cancer and for whom the school created a garden in his memory.
To raise money the youngsters held a bake sale and sold keychains and caps “for the cure.” They also held other fundraisers, including denim days, in which students who participated had to give a monetary donation of some kind.
“Our kids really impressed us,” Shaw said.
Klingman also noted during opening ceremonies that Temple Terrace Elementary School had at that point already raised more than $3,350 and Lewis Elementary School a total of more than $2,600. Quest Diagnostics' team of walkers already had $4,375 in its coffer.
On hand to help kick off the 18-hour affair – in which one walker from each of the event's 32 teams was expected to be on the track at all times – were April Griffin, chairwoman of the Hillsborough County School Board; and David Pogorilich, Grant Rimbey and Eddie Vance, members of the Temple Terrace City Council.
“My family has been decimated by cancer,” Griffin said. “On behalf Hillsborough County School District Superintendent of Schools MaryEllen Elia, I thank you. You are a blessing.”
When Temple Terrace Mayor Frank Chillura took to the stage he marveled about the fact that in the last 10 years Temple Terrace Relay for Life participants have raised a total of $1.1 million.
“That's a lot of money and a lot of effort,” he said.
To add flair to the opening festivities a team of students from Tampa Bay Tech released a colorful array of helium-filled balloons.
An assortment of tents lined the track in which various teams sold food and other items to benefit the cause. Manning those tents were folks from area schools, churches and service organizations.
One tent that caught the eye of many was Lewis Elementary that had a which a clothesline of T-shirts, some real and others made from colorful construction paper, that bore personal messages written on them about loved ones who've battled cancer.
Lewis spokeswoman Linette Niebel said the undertaking began as a tribute to a former student who lost her life at 16.
“From there it sort of developed into a project to honor the memories of others as well,” Niebel said.
Klingman said donations are still being counted. Contributions can be made by logging on to www.acsevents.org or in person to any team member until May 20, when the wrap up party is planned.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]