Reynoldsburg News

Raiders on the Runway

Students model compassion through show

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A group of Reynoldsburg High School juniors who want to "Be the Answer for Kids with Cancer" will host a fashion show where teachers, students and even children battling cancer are models on the runway.

"Raiders on the Runway" begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at Reynoldsburg Summit High School, 8579 Summit Road.

Tickets are $10 if purchased in advance online and $15 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m.

HS2 Academy teacher Christina Grady-Watts said all proceeds will go to Nellie's Catwalk for Kids, an organization founded by Reynoldsburg graduate Janelle Krumlauf that supports pediatric cancer patients.

"This event is tied to the 11th-grade fundraiser Be the Answer for Kids with Cancer that has been running since October and will conclude March 1," Grady-Watts said.

She said teachers nominated 50 students from all four high school academies as well as Baldwin and Waggoner Road junior high schools to serve as models.

"These Raider role models will come together to celebrate Raider pride and raise awareness for childhood cancer," she said. "Reynoldsburg teachers and children battling cancer will also model. The cheerleaders will perform and it will be a lot of fun.

"It's not your typical fashion show," she said.

She said the fashions will be mostly Raider wear and the students' own clothing.

"It is a more of a showcasing of the actual models and their accomplishments," Grady-Watts said. "As they walk down the runway, rather than identifying their clothing, we will announce their interests and accomplishments -- the reason he or she was nominated.

"The students should be wearing a lot of purple and gold," she said.

Purple and gold are the Reynoldsburg Raider school colors and gold is the color of childhood cancer awareness.

Grady-Watts' Health and Human Advocacy classes have worked since October to raise $6,800 and hope to raise a total of $15,000 by March 1 for Nellie's Catwalk for Kids and for the St. Baldrick's Foundation for childhood cancer research.

To donate to the fundraiser, visit stbaldricks.org/donate/. Put Team Raiders in the search box.

The students are honoring a local toddler, Violet Murphy, 2, from Westerville, who went through surgery and aggressive chemotherapy treatment last year and nearly lost her life to cancer.

Her mother, Desiree Murphy, spoke at a school assembly last November in which she told the audience Violet has spent nearly half her life in the hospital but is currently in remission.

Because the students reached their first goal of $6,000, four teachers and nine students from HS2 agreed to shave their heads at a public event hosted by the St. Baldrick's Foundation to show their support of childhood cancer victims.

That event will run from 10 a.m. to noon March 15 at Fado Irish Pub, 4022 Townsfair Way.

Teachers planning to shave their heads are Grady-Watts, Sherri Wellington, Jennifer Druggan and Anthony Smith.

Students are Jakayla Howell, Cody Barnett, Frank Polanco, Akpiroro Oshobe, Brittany Franclemont, Malick Njie, Matt Collier-Wooten, Tyler Knapp and Hunter Perry. Marcia Tuff has agreed to shave her head if they reach the fundraising goal of $15,000.

Howell said she was moved by Violet's story.

"Seeing how strong Violet is inspired me to want to be the person to make a difference," she said.

Grady-Watts said she loves the fact her students are partnering with Reynoldsburg High School alumni to organize the fashion show.

"They get to see first-hand what passion, dedication and hard work can create," she said. "That it is not a cliche -- one person really can make a difference. I'm really excited about the camaraderie this event is bringing amongst the students already.

"It will be such a fun time to celebrate our students while supporting kids with cancer and their families," she said.

She said her students have stayed late after school, come in on Sundays and given up lunch more than once to help put the show together.

"I'm really proud of how much work the students are putting into the show," she said. "They are spending their own time and sometimes money to make this a reality. I couldn't be more pleased."

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