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Students hold out hope for Day of Hope

December 16, 2013
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Salem News

COLUMBIANA - A school board meeting turned emotional last week when two students battling cancer pleaded to bring back an event that raises funds for the disease.

High school seniors Nick Raneri and Dustin Gorby and their classmates encouraged the board to reinstate the annual Day of Hope at the school.

The school held the event the last seven years in the fall and this year was the first time it was not held due to lack of participation. It raised money through various activities during a school day. Students were not required to attend school that day, and unfortunately, some took advantage of that opportunity, the students said.

But there are still many who want the event to continue.

John Kacenski presented the board with a petition signed by 219 students over two hours on Monday.

The petition urged the board to reinstate the event.

"The Day of Hope affected everybody in this school district. It is something that has really affected our school and we want it back. The signatures say yes we do get it, and we care," he said.

Raneri said the money doesn't necessarily have to go to research.

"We can give kids a good Christmas," he said.

Senior Anthony Marr said that even with less participation the school could raise at least $1,700, which is better than not raising money at all.

"I know there has been a concern of lack of participation It is definitely a just cause," he said.

Gorby, who is battling cancer, recalled a teacher and a student lost their fight with the disease.

"If we raise money for research, or anything we can save kids. Without Day of Hope who knows if me or Nick could be here right now," he said.

Board member John Garwood, who lost a son to cancer, fought back emotion as he thanked the students for their support.

"There is not a day that goes by that I don't pray for you guys. I would certainly hope that you could sit down with the administration and work something out. All those signatures that you have speaks volumes," he said.

Board member Jim Weikart was also optimistic.

"Trust me, we will do the right thing. We will work with (Superintendent John) Dilling and see what can be worked out," he said.

Superintendent John Dilling said loss to cancer has been "devastating" for the district, which has had a number of students and staff members diagnosed with the disease over the years.

The board did not act on the matter that evening.

The board did approve:

- Leasing about 33 acres for agricultural purpose to Wilmer Shaum for $121.52 per acre per year for five years.

- Using Pauline Schwab funds to buy computers for the middle school in the amount of $2,000.

- Paying Dalton's Service Company LLC $1,125, Global Government Education Solutions Inc. $418, and Riddell All American $51.39.

- Accepting Title I, Title II, Race to the Top and other grants in the amount of $354,976.

- An educational field trip to London, Paris and Barcelona June 8-20, 2015 through Education First.

- The supplemental coaching resignation of Tobin Bacon for middle school weight lifting.

- Supplemental contracts for Mark Fabian, high school assistant track coach, Eric Bable, high school musical assistant and musical accompanist, and Tobin Bacon, varsity assistance girls softball coach.

- Setting the organizational meeting for 7 p.m. Jan. 8 in the Performing Arts Center. The annual budget hearing was set for 6:30 p.m. that day.



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