It began with two girls asking if they could honor their friend. Then, a Relay for Life rep made a pitch. That's when John Jimno knew his school was on to something special to pay tribute to a former student.
Jimno, principal at Antioch's Park Middle, was faced with the terrible reality that one of his students had lost her life to cancer. Along with staff and students, he wanted to pay tribute to Nesrine Nekkab, who passed away last fall.
And, so began the planning for a smaller Relay for Life event at the school. Jimno's hope was to gather a few students and teachers and "maybe raise $1,000." Instead, more than 100 showed up, and he more than tripled the donation, gathering $3,100 for the American Cancer Society.
In a speech at the event, Nekkab's family spoke of Nesrine's love of school, her dedication to always do her work no matter how ill she was and of her dear friends at the school.
"We wanted to show her family what their daughter meant to us," Jimno said. "We really came together. That's what this school does -- they pull together for a cause, for the community."
He feels good about the tribute and happy for Nekkab's friends, who initially came to him with the suggestion to honor the student. "This meant a whole lot to those girls (Kayla Moore and Malina Camacho), and to us."
WET & WILD TIMES: Fremont students can say with certainty that their principal keeps his word.
Last year, Jason Larson promised his scholars that if the Antioch school's API test scores went up at least 25 points, he'd be the center of some wild attention.
Well, up the scores went by an impressive 44 points, and, so the water balloon event was born.
The school's P.E. teacher set up a course with cones.
With students armed with water balloons, Larson and a few teachers "raced" through the area on tricycles.
"It was amazingly fun -- and, all tied to the academic achievement growth we have made and will continue making," Larson said.
The principal was proud of his students and happy to share that "great things" happen at Fremont.