UPTON – A record amount of fundraising took place through the month of October as students, staff and alumni of Blackstone Valley Tech and surrounding schools rallied around one of their own during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
For the past five years, BVT girls volleyball head coach Barbara King of Millbury has led a “Dig Pink” fundraising campaign in October to raise funds for the Side-Out Foundation, which engages volleyball teams and programs in breast cancer awareness. This year, however, King’s advocacy took a personal turn when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to the early detection of her cancer, King’s prognosis of survival is 100% and she decided to go public with her diagnosis in order to raise awareness about the potentially lifesaving importance of early detection.
Students and staff of BVT immediately united in support of King and her fundraising efforts through t-shirt sales, pink hair extensions in the BVT salon, a “Pink Out” school spirit day, raffles, and the annual “Dig Pink” volleyball game with Douglas High School. For three weeks, members of the boys football team scrimped and saved in order to surprise King at their annual Homecoming game with a check for $750.
“I never expected such an outpouring of support,” King said. “Everyone has rallied around me. It’s been truly overwhelming.”
And while rivalries might exist on the volleyball court and athletic fields, those sentiments were trumped when several local schools joined Valley Tech in supporting King and her breast cancer advocacy. The girls volleyball team of neighboring Nipmuc Regional High School made a sizable donation to Side-Out and presented King with a pink volleyball and poster signed by the team. Millbury Jr./Sr. High School made a $1300 donation to Side-Out in King’s honor, Douglas High School competed in the BVT “Dig Pink” match, and items such as roses and Breast Cancer Awareness Month t-shirts were received from Joseph P. Keefe Regional Technical High School and Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School.
The united effort resulted in the best year of BVT’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraising, with a total of nearly $4,500 donated to Side-Out, bringing the school’s five year total to nearly $12,000.
BVT Dig Pink: This decorative car hood was one of many signs of support for Blackstone Valley Tech’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities. Students and staff from the BVT Auto Body, Painting and Design Technology, and Manufacturing Technology departments collaborated on creating the hood. Seen here from left to right are: BVT Vocational Curriculum Coordinator Thomas Belland; Assistant Superintendent/Principal Anthony Steele; BVT girls volleyball head coach Barbara King; Auto Body junior Tony Arriaga; Auto Body junior Emerson Mulhern; Auto Body Teachers Assistant Kevin Pires; and BVT Auto Body junior Benjamin Orphin.
Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School serves the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton and Uxbridge. The school’s website ishttp://www.valleytech.k12.ma.us.