A special North Royalton High School student by the name of Brook Barnes secretly raised money for her teacher's Race for the Cure team. Brook's teacher, Lisa Arvay, experienced a personal loss to breast cancer when her sister passed away from the disease.
Brook surprised Arvay with the check on Thursday, September 19.
The story is best told by NRHS School Counselor Rachel Hoag:
"Brooke has been telling me for a while now that she was raising money in honor of Ms. Arvay's sister. She said that it would be a surprise and that they would present her with the money before the Race for the Cure. She told me at that point that she had raised $890 just from asking people if they wanted to donate. Next I knew, it was over $1,000! She came to me a few days ago and said that she was ready to present the money to Ms. Arvay and we needed a plan. We came up with a plan to make sure that Ms. Arvay didn't leave her room at the end of the day. Mrs. Federinko (Assistant Principal) went up to Ms. Arvay's room right before the end of the day to distract her and keep her in her room. I had notified all of Brook's teachers, Link Crew Advisors and administrators. We told them that if they wanted to see it in action, to meet in the hall but not to enter until Brook was in the room. Once we made it upstairs, the rest of the audience followed Brook into the room. Ms. Arvay was shocked and knew that Mrs. Federinko was in there to keep her distracted. She kept asking what was going on. Then Brook presented a speech to Ms. Arvay and the money. Ms. Arvay was in shock and so grateful that Brook would do this all on her own. It was one of the most special moments that I have ever seen at school. Brook Barnes is an amazing young lady and I was so happy to be part of the reveal."
Brook talked about her plan on her Facebook wall.
"I've ran Susan G. Komen race for the cure for two years now. One day during my sophomore year, I noticed my teacher Ms. Arvay was upset about something. I went up to her after class and asked her what was wrong. She told me that her sister had passed away from breast cancer a few years back and with it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it just brought back a lot of memories to her. That night I went home and called all my friends. I thought it would be nice to raise money in honor of her sister Melissa. I raised only $150 in two school days but that was better than nothing. The next day I went in and gave the money to her. This was the day before the race. She thanked me so much and was very speechless. The next day (Race Day) I woke up at 5 a.m. and went to downtown Cleveland and signed up for the race. I wrote on the back of my shirt "I dedicate this race to Melissa Arvay." When I crossed the finish line, out of thousands and thousands of people, I saw Ms. Arvay. I ran up to her and showed her my shirt. She then cried and gave me a hug. Ever since that day, I've been running this race with her and her wonderful family. Yesterday, I just found out that this is going to be the last year that Susan G. Komen will be in Cleveland. Because of this, I want to go BIG for Arvay. My goal is to raise $1,000 to give to her team in honor of her sister. It would honestly mean so much! We already have $200 and its just Day 1! We're planning on giving it to her September 20, the day before the race! Also, I am going to be getting a bunch of her students together to run the race with me. If you would like to run, please message me! WARNING: She does NOT know we are doing this for her. PLEASE PLEASE keep it on the down low! .... I told you, our kindness will never end. Arvay deserves this one!"
Brooke Barnes is the student that started the anonymous Twitter account @NRHSKINDNESS1 last year that has created enthusiasm throughout the school and community.
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