Cancer Awareness Week: A United Movement


Courtesy of PDS

Brooke Littman, Staff Writer

If one were to walk into Princeton Day School on Friday, January 25, 2019, one would be encompassed by a sea of lavender, the color for cancer awareness. Throughout the week, students and teachers were decked out in lavender shirts, pants and, most notably, shoelaces that were supplied by the school. With help from the Service Learning Committee and many others, the school came together to promote Cancer Awareness Week.

A couple of weeks prior, the Upper School gathered to listen to Mr. Stellato’s testimony about his battle with cancer over the past few months. He told the school that throughout this hard time in his life, thinking about the PDS community gave him the hope and strength to keep pushing forward. Since then, the Lower, Middle, and Upper schools secretly came together to make one thousand paper cranes to present to Mr. Stellato during the assembly on Thursday, January 24, kicking off Cancer Awareness Week and expressing our love and care for him.

This beautiful gesture of uniting the school was an idea proposed by English teacher Liz Culter. When Ms. Cutler’s son was two years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. During this unimaginable experience, a thirteen-year-old son of one of Ms. Cutler’s oldest friends spent three months folding one thousand paper cranes as part of a Japanese tradition on wishing her son good health. When Ms. Cutler got the box of a thousand paper cranes, she explained, “I felt held in the light in a way that was really important to me. Knowing that I wasn’t alone in what was a really difficult time in my life.”  Ms. Cutler also added, “ It just seems to me when someone is going through a rough time, it’s really important to know that you are being held in the light by the community that you love. I thought Mr. Stellato said pretty clearly in his talk at the assembly that he was thinking about the students and they gave him hope. I thought how about we share with him how much we care.”

After a week of sporting lavender laces and leggings, the Service Learning Committee held a bake share on Friday, January 25, to end Cancer Awareness Week. Unlike a traditional bake sale which sells food for a profit, the bake share had healthy snacks that were free for the PDS community to take and share. Instead of paying for a treat, one had to fill out a pledge to volunteer in and outside the school in hopes of promoting kindness and spreading cancer awareness. The bake share was a huge success, and students pledged 4,952.5 hours of community service and volunteer work. Sophomore Service Learning Representative, Natasha Ray, said in response to the empowering Cancer Awareness Week, “When I walked into school, especially on that one Friday when we had the bake share, seeing everyone wear purple and showing their support for such a great cause was just amazing. I want to thank everyone for showing their support in such a great way.” All in all, Cancer Awareness Week brought the entire PDS community school together by promoting love and compassion while supporting a cause that everyone holds close to their hearts.