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Students stepping up for Relay

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part of an occasional series of stories leading up to the Relay for Life of South Washington County, which will be held June 4-5 at East Ridge High School.

A group of Park High School students will help sleepy walkers stay energized at this year's Relay for Life of South Washington County while raising money for their teams "Snap, Crackle, Pop!" and "Pop, Crackle, Snap!"

The teams, made up of 22 Park High School students, will rent an espresso machine and sell café beverages to walkers for a donation, said team leaders Krystal McCalvy and Karin Kvam, both juniors.

At the American Cancer Society fundraiser, all participating teams pledge to have at least one member walking on the track at all hours of the night.

The students' team sold caffeinated drinks at last year's Woodbury Relay for Life and raised much of their $1,500 total that way. They said they're excited about the potential for sales at this year's combined south Washington County relay event -- Cottage Grove and Woodbury had separate events last year.

"We'll have so many more people," McCalvy said.

McCalvy and Kvam, longtime friends whose birthdays are two days apart, started their own team last year. They had a sweet 16 birthday party, and asked for Relay for Life donations instead of gifts.

For seven years prior to that, Kvam was part of her family's team. Both of her grandmothers died from cancer.

McCalvy's uncle died of cancer this past December, she said. "This year (Relay) is going to be a totally different experience," she said.

The team hopes to raise $2,500, and so far they've raised about $1,450 through a garage sale, Carbone's Pizza fundraiser and other efforts, they said.

Leading the teams has been a lot of work, but it's been worth it, they said, because they're helping people. Kvam mentioned meeting a cancer researcher from the University of Minnesota who gets funding from the American Cancer Society at a Relay for Life meeting.

"It's good to know that what we're doing gives support to people who are local and are doing good things," Kvam said.

Cheering for the Cure

Ciara Wohlford has been participating in Relay for Life since 2006 with her family in honor of her aunt, who is a cancer survivor.

But this year, Wohlford, an East Ridge High School student, is fielding a new team.

When she heard this year's Relay for Life would be held at her high school Wohlford asked her fellow Raptors cheerleaders to start their own fundraising team.

"I thought that cheerleaders should definitely be a part of that," she said. "We should have the school involved if it's going to be here."

Wohlford is one of the captains for the "Cheering for a Cure" team.

"It's great being able to come together and help one cause," Wohlford said.

Wohlford said the "Cheering for a Cure" team will be hosting a variety of fundraising events including a garage sale, car washes and selling luminaria bags.

Wohlford said the team hopes to raise $3,000, which will go to the American Cancer Society.

"I think we can do more," she said. "Cheering for a Cure" isn't the only East Ridge team that will be on the track at the upcoming Relay for Life. In fact, school officials are hoping to have close to 20 teams, including a staff team, said principal Aaron Harper.

"It's a community event, and as far as I'm concerned I'm very passionate about getting our kids involved," Harper said. "High schools are hubs for the community, so the event really spoke to me.

"Plus, we're all touched by someone who has been affected by cancer."

For more information on the 2010 Relay for Life of South Washington County, to donate or to start a team visit the official Web site at