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Barnesville Middle School students cut class for a cure

Updated: Friday, May 16 2014, 06:20 PM EDT
BARNESVILLE, Ohio -  It was hard not to feel chills as Barnesville Middle School teachers affected by cancer in various ways told personal stories Friday during the 3rd annual "Cut Class for a Cure" program.
The program, which benefits the 3C Cancer Support Group, started a little more than 3 years ago after a pair of teachers at the school became face-to-face with the disease.
"I lost my husband to kidney cancer and I was left with three children," 6th grade teacher Bev McConnell said. "My youngest was 2 when he died."
Fellow 6th grade teach Lori Witchey had a similar story.
"After being affected by cancer myself, and my dad passed away from cancer in 1994, we passed around a coffee can to the students and they threw their change in and called it 'Coins for a Cure,'" Witchey said.
Three years ago, "Coins for a Cure" flourished into an event called "Cut Class for a Cure" at BMS.
Here's how it works: Students donate $1 and the fun begins. A host of games, like cornhole, whiffleball, even a fishing tournament coupled with food, music, auctions and a wide range of prizes keep kids entertained.
But this is day is more than just fun, it's meaningful and heartfelt.
"They start to realize how many people it's affecting," Principal Julie Erwin said.
It's a positive message for students.
"When we started this year selling t-shirts and raffle tickets and wrist bands ahead of time, and we were doing broadcasts on our radio show in the morning about the different prizes that were available, the excitement started to build and they just couldn't wait for today to get here," Erwin said.
There's some serious cash being collected here.
"Families send in $10 and $20, and they'll hand you money because cancer has reached out to them in some way," Erwin said. "The first year when we hit $4,000 we were amazed and last year when it went to $6,700 we were in shock."
"Cut Class for a Cure" is such a hit, word is starting to spread and other area schools are expressing interest in the program.
"Lori and I, our dream would be every middle school in Belmont County have Cutting Class for a Cure, because 3C's helps everyone in Belmont County," McConnell said. "We would like to offer our services to any other school that would like to get it started."
Witchey is retiring at the end of the school year after teaching for 31 years. With days like Friday, she says what a better way to finish her career in the school system and go out with a bang.
Students raised $13,000 on Friday.

Barnesville Middle School students cut class for a cure

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