Lakeside High School has planned several fund-raisers to help a beloved teacher who is fighting breast cancer.
Lakeside High School students Courtney Pratt and Parker Hamilton string fund-raising paper chains in the school.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Spanish teacher Cathy Ferko - known affectionately as Senora Ferko - was diagnosed last fall with breast cancer. She underwent treatment and was in remission, but discovered three weeks ago the cancer had returned. She has been out of work since then and is now at home in hospice care.
"Her energy and her passion has fueled my desire to become more fluent in Spanish," said Mareasa Fortunato, a student in Ferko's Spanish IV class. "No matter what was going on in her life, she could put it aside and have fun with us, delivering the material to us in a way we appreciated."
Ferko has taught at the school since it opened in 1988.
The fund-raising effort began last week with the Lakeside Love Links project where 25 cents buys a paper link in a chain. As of Friday, $3,500 had been collected, said Bekki Matthews, media specialist, who is in charge of coordinating events.
"All of the kids were wanting to know what to do - take food to her, go to see her, cut her grass - something for them to express their love for her," Ms. Matthews said. "We wanted something that the kids could see, so we decided on the Lakeside Love Links. Symbolically, we are encircling the school in love."
On Thursday, the school will hold !Que' barbaridad! , a dress down day. !Que' barbaridad!, which means how bizarre or how crazy in Spanish, was one of Ferko's favorite sayings. Students and staff can pay $3 to dress down that day.
The Furys Ferry Road location of Papa Johns will also be holding a pizza night fund-raiser on Thursday. Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated in Ferko's name.
Also, Lakeside art teacher Emily Shipe has painted a watercolor of flowers in a vase, which will be for sale in a silent auction in the media center through Friday. The bidding, as of Monday morning, was at $30.
The goal of the school is to raise $10,000 to help Ferko's family with medical bills and expenses, Ms. Matthews said. Ferko and her husband, Gary, have two daughters, Rachel, 13, and Reagan, 8.
"We want to take the pressure off where there doesn't need to be pressure at this time," said Ms. Matthews, who is also a former student of Ms. Ferko's.
Students and staff agree that Ms. Ferko has been inspirational in battling her illness - this year going to radiation therapy before coming to school, said Lynn Mertins, media specialist. After she lost her hair, she would have fun with her wigs, one day wearing a Willie Nelson wig with braids and a bandana. At graduation, when the graduates tossed their hats, she tossed her wig, revealing a "2002" painted on her head in pink.
"She's just always so crazy and fun," Mareasa said. "When she got sick it came as such a surprise. Nobody deserves to get cancer, but of all people, why her? She's one of the nicest people."
Contributions can be mailed to Lakeside High School, 533 Blue Ridge Drive, Evans, GA 30809.
For more information about upcoming fundraising events, point your browser to http://www.lhspanthers.com/ferko.html.
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