Community Rallies for Student in Need

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Bright orange t-shirts and a wide variety of fundraisers were the cornerstones for a recent initiative the district put into place in support of Robert Frost Middle School student Karl Zaharia. Karl was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) in August 2010 and has fought hard to battle this disease and its effects on his body. Rallying together to help support Karl, the district coordinated several events to not only raise funds for the Zaharia family but also to work to find a cure for Karl’s ALL.

In a partnership with DKMS Bone Marrow Donor Center, the district recently hosted a bone marrow donor drive. More than 100 volunteers including students, teachers, administrators and community members helped to register and screen participants and raise awareness of this worthy cause. The drive was a tremendous success, resulting in more than 750 people getting swabbed and completing the potentially life-saving process. 

On the day prior to the bone marrow donor drive, students, teachers and administrators wore orange t-shirts - the signature color of Leukemia awareness and the color of Karl’s favorite hockey team, the New York Islanders - which read “Kourage for Karl.” In addition, students sold “Kourage for Karl” bracelets as a constant reminder of their classmate’s strength and struggles.

Within the schools, students throughout the district have organized fundraising efforts to benefit the Zaharia family. Karl’s Studio in Art class created handmade holiday cards as part of the “Kards for Karl” project. Students are selling these unique items to their peers, who are in turn writing personal messages that will be delivered to Karl. 

The district will continue to facilitate a variety of fundraisers throughout the school year and keep Karl connected with his school and peers.