Students raise $7,200 in cancer benefit for classmate

In a word, it was community. That’s how Williamsport Area High School student organizers described the response to a spaghetti dinner cancer benefit they held on May 10 at St. Joseph the Worker Parish Center, 702 W. Fourth St., for fellow classmate Cole Robinson.

Coordinated by the class of 2015’s executive board, the event -complete with raffle prizes and sponsors – generated more than $7,200 that will go directly to Robinson’s family.

“This benefit has really opened my eyes to the power a small group of people can have,” said junior Kenny McCabe. “Just by donating a couple of hours of our time and working toward a goal, we made a difference in a family’s life. Just seeing the amount of people that came to support Cole blew my mind.”

Robinson, 17, is a WAHS student who recently was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma. According to friend and executive board member Jessica Snyder, the student group wanted to do something to support his family.

“Just a little bit of help from everyone turned out to be a big benefit to the dinner,” Robinson said. “The community helped out, too, by donating what they could. I couldn’t thank our community and the people more than enough.”

For junior Lenae Schappell, “it was incredible to see the way our student executive board and community pulled together.”

“Looking around the room, I couldn’t have been happier seeing everyone donate their time and money,” she said. “This benefit was great because it supported both Cole and his family, but it also brought together our community for a good purpose.”

Advisor and English teacher Spring Moore said that while the executive board typically is geared toward fundraising for and planning of school events, such as the prom, she encourages the students to do something charitable each year, either for the school or the community.

“When the kids started talking about Cole’s situation, they decided as a group that they really wanted to do something for him,” Moore said. “Seeing my kids come together with members of the community, reaching out to churches, businesses and individuals, reveals the kind of young adults that they are – great leaders and resourceful individuals with compassionate hearts and the drive to set goals and reach them. It also shows the kind of citizens they will be. I’m so very proud of them.”