Stafford Intermediate School Future Leaders Raise Money for ‘Parker’s Army’

Students’ Art Dedicated to Classmate
By DAVID BIGGY | Apr 24, 2019
Courtesy of: Jaime Staub INSPIRED: Intermediate School students paint rock decorations as part of a fundraiser in memory of McKinley School classmate Parker Nork, who passed away in 2017.

Manahawkin — While March 11, 2017, is etched in the hearts of many, specifically the Nork family, who lost their beloved Parker to leukemia, many students now at Stafford Intermediate School were friends of his in the McKinley School next door. So what more enduring way to honor Parker’s compassionate and caring legacy than to paint some rocks to line the walkways at the school? That’s what the Future Leaders Council did during the last week of March and first week of April this year as they led the way in a fundraiser for Parker’s Army.

“We were truly thrilled with the participation and the feedback from the fundraiser,” said Future Leaders adviser Jaime Staub, whose crew raised about $400 as a starting point. “Laurie McAvoy and I were completely floored with the time and energy put into the project.  Each rock is equally beautiful, and every time another rock was finished we believed it to be just as perfect as the one before it.”

The rock painting project orchestrated by the Future Leaders yielded dozens of colorfully decorated stones – some just colorful while others delivered inspirational messages, and a bunch were adorned with pink ribbons and a plethora of references to Parker, who wore No. 99 as a youth ice hockey, football and lacrosse player.

According to Staub, the student leaders put the plan into action on their own; created a flyer that was circulated around the school; came up with the dates for painting, either indoors or outside the main entrance; wrote announcements; and created a commercial to advertise the event.

And the requirements to participate were simple. Students showed up to a table set up with plates of paint, markers and paintbrushes, and they paid $1 to paint a rock, giving up part of their recess for a fabulous cause. The Future Leaders provided the paint and rocks to those who didn’t bring a rock, and members volunteered to run the painting tables in shifts. Some helped out during all six days of the project.

“Our expectations were very simple,” Staub said. “We wanted the students to send kind messages through their rock painting so we could line the walkways of the school. Since the money was being donated to Parker’s Army, quite a few of Parker’s friends wanted to paint a rock in his honor. Many of the rocks are pink, sport cancer ribbons and the Parker’s No. 99. These students are Parker’s people, and they loved him dearly. Sometimes love is all you need to guide yourself and others to share kindness.”

The Future Leaders crew includes Madilyn Boyd, Katie Brennan, Kaycee Callanan, Jason Cantu, Ean Case, Zac Ciappa, Gavin Cleary, Natalie Fischer, Maliah Gonzales, Heather Henderson, Trip Henderson, Jacob King, Jack Kirk, Chris Laba, Riley Paluszak, Luke Piszar, Gillian Purul, Lucais Romo, Brenna Seubert, Braedyn Shaffrey, Carly Simmons, Kealia Smith, Joey Spina, Leo Staub, Cal Turanyi and Zoie Wong.

The next fundraising effort at Stafford Intermediate is Kids Night, and proceeds from it will be combined with the rock painting project and delivered to Parker’s Army.

“We absolutely will be running this fundraiser again in the future,” Staub said. “We hope to line all the doorway paths around the entire building.”

As described on the website, the Parker’s Army organization raises funds for scholarships to high school student athletes, to help cure childhood cancer and to fund local youth recreational and hockey programs.

— David Biggy

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