The ninth annual Jordan Scheer Memorial Children’s Relay For Life went off without a hitch, according to Blake Straatmann, one of the senior chairs of the event.
The Relay, organized by the Washington High School leadership class, took place Friday, April 25, at the WHS track.
The event is held each year to celebrate and remember Jordan Scheer, a WHS graduate, who lost his battle to cancer shortly after his graduation in 2005. The event also raises awareness about cancer and healthy lifestyles.
More than 450 students from 14 area schools took part in the event, including from Augusta, Beaufort, Campbellton, Clearview, Fifth Street, Immanuel Lutheran, Labadie, Marthasville, Our Lady of Lourdes, South Point, St. John the Baptist-Gildehaus, St. Gertrude, St. Vincent de Paul and Washington West.
This year’s event chairs are seniors Jenna Backs, Kassidy Laughlin, Alex Ready and Blake Straatmann, and juniors Allison Hancock and Austin Finder.
Students raised $20,042 to be donated to the Franklin County Relay For Life, an increase over last year’s total of about $17,878.
The nine-year total is more than $180,000, Straatmann noted.
“We’re very pleased with the result,” he said. “We had nice weather with a little breeze, and we topped what we raised last year.”
Straatmann said the kids seemed to enjoy themselves as well.
“The kids were happy to see it all come together and that they raised that much money to do their part in the fight against cancer,” he said.
The theme was space and the motto was “Let’s Launch Across the Galaxy on a Mission Fueled by Hope, One Small Step in a Relay, One Giant Leap for a Cure!”
A rocket was launched in honor of Scheer.
As in years past, a poster and essay contest were held. Winners were recognized during the closing ceremonies.
Students were split into a third- and fourth-grade division and a fifth- and sixth-grade division.
Third- and fourth-grade winners were Lucy Banion, first place, Immanuel Lutheran; Abby Loesing, second place, Immanuel Lutheran; and Jessie Tovo, third place, Labadie Elementary; and fifth- and sixth-grade winners Josie Newman, first place, Augusta Elementary; Luke Wilson, second place, Augusta Elementary; and team Sam Martin, Cameron McElhaney and Gage Rombach, third place, all from Labadie Elementary.
Poster winners included Abby Loesing, first place in the third- and fourth-grade division, Immanuel Lutheran School. Winners in the fifth- and sixth-grade division were Alyssa Berry, first place, Baylee Franklin, second place, and James Milligan, third place, all from Augusta Elementary.
The first ever “Infinity and Beyond” award was presented to one student who went “above and beyond” in fund-raising efforts.
Kylie Phinney, a student at Clearview Elementary, was presented with the award. Phinney made and sold handmade hearts, raising more than $300.
Schools that raised the most money were Immanuel Lutheran, $4,064; St. John the Baptist-Gildehaus, $3,496; and Labadie and Beaufort Elementary, both $1,891.
Kelly Wood, one of Jordan Scheer’s high school teachers, spoke during the closing ceremony. Wood’s daughter, Erin Wesselschmidt, was in Scheer’s graduating class.
Wesselschmidt drew a sketch of Jordan Scheer as her mom spoke about Jordan’s life and memories of him.
Wood used balloons to illustrate her speech, with different colors representing different phases of Jordan’s life.
“Jordan was a true blue jay, determined to reach his goals,” Wood said. “When life got tough, Jordan would bounce back. He remained resilient and strong in the struggle of sickness, fear and pain.”
Popping two black balloons that represented cancer, Wood asked “Wouldn’t it be awesome if the black disease of cancer would be gone from our lives forever?”
Students recognized and thanked WHS teachers Julie Weindel and Cathy Jinkerson, who help organize the relay.
A star was purchased in Jordan’s memory. A framed constellation including the star’s location was presented to Jordan’s parents Wynn and Ron Scheer. The star is located in Orion’s Belt.
Ron Scheer thanked everyone for attending and organizing the event, as well as students for raising money.
“So that at some point in time we won’t have to have another Relay For Life because cancer will be gone,” Ron Scheer said. “That’s a day we all look for.”