Molly Williams, a senior at Barrington High School, graduated on Sunday, but her work at the high school is not quite finished.
Molly will continue her senior project this weekend at the Barrington High School-sponsored American Cancer Society Relay for Life event. She’s working with a team of volunteers, including Barrington High School teacher Suzanne Pickford and former BHS student Andrew Lazouras from Rocky Silva Karate, to build a memorable event.
The relay at Barrington High School is the only student-run relay in the state. But that distinction has not stopped the event from becoming one of the most successful fund-raisers around.
Last year, students at the school raised $56,000 with their relay and won a series of awards for their accomplishment. This year, Molly is hoping to top that figure, and with help from a former Barrington High School student she may just do that. Andrew Lazouras is an instructor at Rocky Silva’s Karate and he is helping coordinate an event called Kicking Cancer that will help raise more money for the relay.
Approximately 200 students at the karate school are soliciting donations from people for the relay; someone can purchase a breaking board for $10, which the student will then smash during a demonstration at the relay on Friday night.
“We’re looking at raising about $10,000 or $20,000,” said Andrew, a 2007 graduate of Barrington High School. “The lumberyard loves us.”
It was actually Andrew’s connection with the school and more specifically with Mrs. Pickford, that brought him together with the relay organizers. Andrew had Mrs. Pickford as a teacher at the school, and now she takes karate lessons at Rocky Silva’s.
All those involved in planning the upcoming Relay for Life at Barrington High School agreed that the project did not feel like work, rather a fun challenge that will benefit many people.
“It doesn’t feel like I’m doing school work,” Molly said. “It’s an interest and it’s a passion. … I feel like I’m making a difference.”
Mrs. Pickford said the student-run relay at Barrington started three years ago when then-senior Emily Howe decided to plan the event as part of her senior project. The relay was such a success that Devon Wallick followed the same course last year and Molly Williams picked up the torch this year. Molly’s younger sister, Annie, said she too has taken an interest in the project. She’s finishing up her sophomore year, but seemed interested in possibly coordinating the event in two years.
Mrs. Pickford said the relay truly is student-run. She said she helps with some of the logistics, but the students deserve all the credit.
“It amazes me how much work the students do,” Mrs. Pickford said.
In addition to organizing the event, there are a number of student teams participating in the 12-hour relay. There are also teams from other schools in the district that have signed up to walk and raise money.
“We’re hoping for about 650 people,” Molly said.
At last check, 37 teams and more than 400 people had registered for the event. They had raised more than $27,500.
Want to help?
There is still time to offer a helping hand to the Barrington High School Relay for Life. Just go to main.acsevents.org and follow the links to the Barrington High School event. There, people can sign up for the relay, donate or do both.
Molly Williams (first row, second from left) and other Relay for Life organizers held a karaoke night fund-raiser recently.