Many schools are becoming more involved in fundraising efforts for breast cancer awareness. Fredonia Central School has joined that club.
Grades kindergarten through 12 helped raise money to be donated to the Olivia Coia Memorial Scholarship Fund. In the high school, members of the Key Club sold water bottles and bracelets during the Fredonia-Dunkirk football game.
The high school also raised $100 by doing a hat day.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Members of the Fredonia Central School helped donate money to the Olivia Coia Memorial Scholarship Fund. David Coia, Olivia’s father, accepted the donation. Pictured in back row, from left are second grade teacher Stephanie Goot, senior Megan Bleck and Alicia Kluck, grade 5. Front row, from left are Josie Tomaszewski, grade 2, Suzanne Piper, Lila Cameron, Hayleigh Welka, Alexandra Pucci-Schefer, all grade 3 students, and Coia.
The middle school sold bracelets and hosted a hat day, as well.
The elementary school did a 'Think Pink' fundraiser where students and faculty members could wear pink. Those who wore pink were able to donate $1 and write their name on a donation card.
One second-grade student, Josie Tomaszewski, even donated her whole entire piggy bank to the cause. Tomaszewski's father works at Silver Creek Central School where Olivia was a teacher before passing away of breast cancer.
A total of $1,366.63 was donated to the memorial scholarship and was accepted by Olivia's father, David Coia. Coia was thrilled with the amount of money that was donated.
"It's amazing what students can do," he said.
The fundraising effort was started by second-grade teacher Stephanie Goot who had met Coia previously at a race in Sunset Bay. Goot said that after she heard the story of Olivia, she could not stop thinking about her story.
"It always stuck with me and I went to (Elementary Principal) Amy (Piper) with this idea of let's do something ... something big," Goot said. "It all just worked out."
Coia said that even when his daughter was sick with breast cancer, she was always positive and had a smile. Olivia passed away in March 2010 after a 9-month battle with triple negative breast cancer.
"Olivia said when she passed away, 'Take care of the kids.' Many schools are raising money," Coia said.
The schools where scholarships will be awarded this year to seniors are Silver Creek, Lake Shore and Fredonia. Coia said that students donating to the cause reminded him of Olivia always wanting to help.
"Having students like this reminds me Olivia," Coia said,
He spoke of a time when Olivia was the Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) advisor and wanted to bring a DWI simulator to the district which cost $5,000. Olivia was determined to raise the funds to have the simulator at the school for the students. According to Coia, Olivia was able to raise all but $300, which the district was able to pay. Coia said his daughter never gave up whenever given a challenge.
During the fundraising, Goot had to miss a day of work for participation in the Marine Corps marathon in Arlington, Va., and was worried about her students having a substitute.
"I didn't know who was going to sub for me," Goot said. "When I came back I had a thank you letter on my desk."
That letter was from a coworker and friend of Olivia's praising Goot for her work to raise money for breast cancer research. That letter brought this whole idea full circle for Goot. Elementary Principal Amy Piper was thrilled for the students' fundraising efforts.
"I'm so proud of the students that they did this on their own," Piper said. "Their generosity is amazing."
Along with Piper, Goot was excited about the amount raised by the students and faculty.
"Just to see a small idea come to fruition was great ... an amazing group of people who work here," Goot said. "(The amount raised) just exceeded my expectations," Goot said.
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