SPRINGVILLE — It was an emotional day for everyone at Springville Junior High on Friday.
Students were decked out in pink, along with much of the downtown area. It was all part of “Turn Springville Pink” day, to benefit breast cancer research, both with money and with awareness.
“I’m just in shock at how much pink there is,” said Olivia Hutto, a student at Springville High, who helped organize the effort, along with her mother, Tracie.
Olivia set a goal of $5,000, and was left with her mouth agape when the SJHS Jr. Beta Club presented her a check for $6,586.
“I am overwhelmed by the support of the students and the community,” Tracie said. “You always feel like you can do more, but this is surprising.”
The moment was bittersweet for both – Tracie’s mother and Olivia’s grandmother, Charlotte Keith, succumbed to breast cancer earlier this year.
“I don’t want to get upset, but I know Mom would be really proud,” Tracie said.
The money will go to benefit the Audi and Kathy White Foundation, which supports cancer research at UAB. Kathy White was on hand to receive the check and be honored as well.
“I’m so proud of you,” she told Olivia. “I’m just so proud.”
“Turn Springville Pink” is an outgrowth of a similar event in Trussville, according to White.
“I’m very thankful and blessed to live in cities that can unite,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s a wrong emotion. It’s a confirmation of them all.
“To see all this, it’s definitely overwhelming.”
As part of the festivities the students honored cancer survivors on hand: Tammy Montgomery, Amy Gilliland, Deandra Long, Betty Wallace and Brodie and Miles Davenport, sons of Monica Davenport.
“You start hearing the stories of people who have been touched by this,” said Principal Virgil Winslett. “You don’t realize. So many people have either had breast cancer or somebody they loved had it. You hear stories about people you never even thought.”
Jr. Beta Club sponsor Kathy Ronderos was also a part of the effort; her students helped decorate the downtown area, and also handed out balloons to students for a release ceremony.
“It’s very emotional,” Ronderos said. “Driving to school today and seeing all the ribbons everywhere was very emotional.
“These kids have done such a great job and our community has done such a great job. I hope it will become a tradition.”