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Central High rallies around teacher with football game 'pink out'

Central High principal John Stratton holds up a banner with, from left, seniors Selena Flores, Katerina Stramiello and Alyssa Napoli, senior co-sponsor and English teacher Samantha Keister and seniors Allison Lucky and Cierra Ward. The banner was one of several that were decorated to hang in the football stadium.

PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE | Special to the Times

Central High principal John Stratton holds up a banner with, from left, seniors Selena Flores, Katerina Stramiello and Alyssa Napoli, senior co-sponsor and English teacher Samantha Keister and seniors Allison Lucky and Cierra Ward. The banner was one of several that were decorated to hang in the football stadium.

BROOKSVILLE — Even the giant bear that guards the entrance at Central High School was in on the act, sporting a pink ribbon around its neck.

The ribbon was just a touch of the pink that filled the school Oct. 4 and the football stadium that night. The school was holding a "pink out" in support of breast cancer research.

The event was a challenge by Central to Weeki Wachee High School to help fill the stadium with the color that represents breast cancer. The idea was 17-year-old senior Katerina Stramiello's, encouraged by her friend, senior Selena Flores, also 17.

"Every other school does the black and white out (to support their school teams)," Katerina said, "but we don't just support our school, we support breast cancer awareness."

Central's student government has participated in Relay for Life fundraisers for cancer awareness and prevention and has signed up again this year as Weaver's Warriors, named for anatomy and physiology, health opportunities and physical education teacher Vicki Weaver, who is battling breast cancer.

During the "pink out" football game, luminarias were available for a $1 donation in honor of a loved one fighting cancer or in memory of people lost to the disease. At halftime, people whose lives have been affected by cancer were invited onto the field for a moment of silence and the playing of Kutless' song What Faith Can Do.

Student government president Claudeen Guillaume, a 17-year-old senior, took on the job of selling pink T-shirts at school, with the help of front desk secretary Stacy Jarrell, who also acts as a senior class co-sponsor with 10th-grade English teacher Samantha Keister.

"We've been selling shirts for about the last three weeks," said junior class sponsor, health teacher and career and technology chairwoman Beth Brooks.

She credited all of the class sponsors with helping coordinate the pink effort. The sophomore sponsor is exceptional student education teacher Wilson Sommer. Vicki Weaver is the freshman class sponsor.

"We've sold over 250," Katerina said.

Jarrell ordered 65 more to sell or give away at the game.

Pink ribbons also were sold. They were available during lunch, for any donation, with proceeds going to cancer research.

Seniors Cierra Ward, 18, and Alyssa Napoli, Cassandra Werner and Allison Lucky, all 17, made banners to decorate the stadium. Cierra has very personal reasons for wanting to be involved.

"I lost three aunts from breast cancer, and I lost my dad to cancer, so I like supporting any kind of cancer (awareness)," she said.

"I'm doing this because people need to be aware of what's going on and how a lot of people have cancer and we have to support them," she added.

She said she also wants to show "how a small school can make such a big difference."

Central High rallies around teacher with football game 'pink out' 10/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 6:54pm]
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