Hastings Elementary dons purple to help fight cancer
By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Westborough – May 19 marked the 41st annual Purple Day at Hastings Elementary School. This year, the students at Hastings also got to participate in the American Cancer Society’s awareness and fundraising event, Relay Recess.
“Purple Day is a long standing tradition here. Forty years ago, a fourth grade teacher named Peggy O’Neil started Purple Day. When I asked her why, she conveyed that she wanted the children to understand that even though they were young, they could still make a difference in the world,” Principal Leigh Becker explained. “When I began here as principal three years ago, we started making a difference to our school environment by planting flowers and trees.”
Abby Zimage, who works as a staff partner for the American Cancer Society’s signature event, Relay for Life, approached Becker to see if she would be interested in having the students participate in this fundraising effort to coincide with Purple Day. Each class walked laps around the Hastings School throughout the day by grade level similar to the Relay for Life. The event was very well received by the students, staff and parents.
“Making a difference is what this day is all about,” Becker said. “I could not have asked for a better partnering than the addition of the Relay Recess. Their logo colors are also purple and in each classroom, large purple can collection jars have been placed for donations throughout this week.”
Purple Day began with a kick-off assembly in the gym for the entire school. The atmosphere
was filled with excitement and a lot of purple. Everyone seemed to be in the spirit of the day. Parents were encouraged to come to school during Relay Recess to help cheer the children as they walked their laps. Some of the parents even carried signs with encouraging words for the walkers.
“The money that the students at Hastings are helping to raise will go toward cancer research, Hope Lodge, a place for patients to stay during hospital treatments, Road to Recovery, a free ride to patients for their doctors’ appointments, and many other American Cancer Society programs,” Zimage said. “I am really thrilled that Relay for Life of Westborough was able to have the Hastings students participate in Relay Recess.”
To date, the program has raised about $5,000 in Westborough, she noted.
“I want the students to know that they can make things better by getting involved,” Becker said. “My motto to them is to always remember that Hastings kids can make a world of difference.”
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