By PHIL DEVITT
Fall River Spirit Editor
Before they joined their classmates on the track, Brittney and Kaitlin Costa did something for dad. They pinned a ribbon to a white poster chained to the fence — a way to make the Stomping Out Cancer 5K Walk more personal.
The twins are members of the Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School junior class committee, which spent the entire school year planning the second annual fundraiser for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Their father is an oral cancer survivor.
"It's all come together nicely," Kaitlin said as the sun lit up the blue sky over the school Saturday morning.
About 300 participants raised at least $3,000 for cancer research through the event. Organizers, who were still adding up donations after the walk, hoped to surpass last year's $7,500 total. But junior class adviser Suzanne Ramos said her students have already exceeded expectations.
"We've spent hundreds and hundreds of hours planning this together," Ramos said. "The kids littered the city with fliers, promoted this on Facebook, on the radio. It was a tremendous effort."
Ramos said the walk was supposed to be a one-time event, but students responded so enthusiastically to it last year that they immediately began brainstorming about how to make the next one better.
"Everyone had a great time and loved it," she said.
Ramos said students tackle numerous volunteer projects throughout the year, including one mandatory "major" event that raises money for a good cause.
"I require it because I think it's important that students give back to the community," Ramos said.
Participants circled the track for a couple of hours while bands Fun House and Astro Cat played high-energy music. Potato-sack races, hula hoops and a bounce house entertained children on the field.
Juniors Kayleigh Lamothe, Drew Correiro, Kiana Jeronimo and Jacqueline Cantin presided over a raffle table full of goods that they persuaded local businesses to donate.
"This was put together by a bunch of 17-year-olds," Jeronimo said, looking around at the activity. "We're only 17 and we were able to do this. Everyone worked together."
The success came as no surprise to Lamothe, who noted how many lives cancer has touched. "It hits close to home with a lot of people," she said.
Graphic Communications students and Photo Club members proudly sold their work on the field, donating proceeds to Dana-Farber.
Michelle Gaudencio, an instructor who co-advises the club, said her students' willingness and eagerness to serve are why she loves teaching.
"The school spirit is infectious," she said. "Once these kids get the bug to do good things, they are all about it. I don't even have to ask. They really want to give back to their community because this is their home."
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