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Stratford High Goes Gold to fight childhood cancer

Published Tuesday, February 26, 2019

SHS students and staffulty

(BCSD photo)

On the way to the school cafeteria last Friday, a student dressed in yellow and gold, from head to toe, stopped Stratford High School Principal Heather Taylor. The student was even wearing a gold paper crown.

The conversation that followed was not about the student’s outfit or about the crown on her head. Instead, it was a completely normal conversation about a yogurt spilled in the stairwell.

There was likely no mention of what some may view as an odd getup because Stratford High School has cultivated an environment in which quirky behavior with positive outcomes is encouraged and supported. That focus on positivity has also made generosity a shared value among students, teachers and administrators.

It should come as no surprise that Stratford High recently completed a two-week “Go Gold” fundraising campaign with Kristine’s Joy for Kids — a local organization that benefits the American Childhood Cancer Organization.

What made this campaign different from others was the personal connection to the student body.

Stratford junior Christian Oman is battling cancer, and he is one of the benefactors of organizations like Kristine’s Joy for Kids. While activities and events were designed to raise awareness and funds for the collective, there was an understanding among students that what they did, was done for Christian.

Mrs. Taylor said while fundraisers happen every day at Stratford, a two-week campaign is unique. Making it even more special was the support the Go Gold campaign had from the Knights of the Round Table — a group of student representatives from the larger clubs on campus.

“Our kids here are always so giving. It’s part of the culture here, but they also just love Christian. …It doesn’t surprise me that their hearts are where they are at with this. They want to help. The majority of our kids here are all about donating whatever they can.”

For two weeks students without sources of income emptied their pockets and their hearts for the campaign. As they worked to raise awareness, teaches and administrators at Stratford learned more about their student body. They learned of other students on campus with cancer war stories. They witnessed unconditional acts of kindness.

“They were paying no attention (to friendly competition) as they gave money,” said Stratford teacher Donna Staller. “They were just putting what they had into jars. They don’t care who goes to lunch early, they really don’t.”

While giving is the way at Stratford, Mrs. Taylor and others believe this experience will be one students remember for a lifetime.

“They wanted to do this,” she said.

By the end of the school day last Friday, students had raised more than $1,100.

Kristine Schaffer of Kristine’s Joy for Kids is a proud Stratford alumna. Additional information about her organization can be found on the American Childhood Cancer Cancer Organization’s website.


Brian Troutman