About Town

by Denise Gawlik

The May primary season again reminded us of the ever-deepening divisive world we live in. About Town, however, would like to take a moment to remind us of what we can accomplish when we all work together. Two examples of such “teamwork” can be found within our Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School community, with its annual Kick-It campaign and the parent-led campaign to renovate the school’s aging auditorium.

At the end of the school year, BBH middle school students embark on their annual Kick-It campaign to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer. The idea of Kick-It began as a single kickball game fundraiser by then 9-year-old Quinn Clarke. His simple idea quickly inspired other kickball games and raised thousands of dollars. Kick-It is now part of the national non-profit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation which also focuses on pediatric cancer.

Since 2010, the BBHMS community has come together to raise money to fight pediatric cancer.  In addition to participating in the traditional kickball game, students are encouraged to sell handmade items and baked goods and to participate in a variety of other activities designed to raise money. Community sponsors and student-designed custom t-shirt sales are also involved. Students also volunteer to have their hair cut and donated to make wigs for cancer patients.

The campaign ends with a carnival where the students play games for a small price and purchase lunch from assembled food trucks. The food trucks are later open to the community, with all proceeds benefiting Kick-It. 

The Kick-It campaign is led by BBHMS teacher Maria Schneider who is tremendously dedicated and passionate for this project and the primary reason for its success. In fact, Alex’s Lemonade Stand recently announced that the Middle School’s Kick-It campaign was its highest fund raiser in the nation for 2021 raising $42,142, a truly outstanding achievement considering most of the funds are raised by middle schoolers. The Middle School’s 2022 Kick-It campaign is happening right now.

A second example of successful teamwork is found in the work of the BBH Middle School Auditorium Renovation Committee. This parent-led committee leads a district-wide initiative to raise funds to renovate the middle school auditorium. The auditorium was constructed in 1970 and is in need of substantial repairs and a lot of TLC.  On April 23, the committee hosted Vegas-style magician Rick Smith Jr. for two shows at the auditorium. Smith Jr.’s Magic Gives Back program donates money back to host schools based upon a percentage of ticket sales. In this case, if the committee could sell 1800 seats, then Rick Smith Jr. would donate at least $20,000 to the project.

The committee worked together with BBH District administration, the Parent School Organizations at each District school, the BBH Alumni Association and numerous other community businesses and groups to successfully sell more than 1800 seats and, in turn, received $21,200 from Rick Smith Jr. Additionally, as the result of 50/50 raffles, a silent auction, raffle baskets and concessions, the committee raised a total of $25,500 for the auditorium.  According to committee co-chair, Kerry Ely, “It truly was a districtwide effort and thanks goes to everyone who helped make the event even more successful than we hoped.”  

To date, the committee has raised approximately $115,000 toward the auditorium renovation.    

It was cold, wet, and rainy for the return of the Kiwanis Club of Brecksville’s annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 16. The hunt took place on one of the practice fields located near the Brecksville-Broadview Heights high school stadium.  While the weather scared away some hunters, this only meant more candy for those brave enough to bare the elements.

While the weather has been less than ideal here in Brecksville, the BBH Marching Band enjoyed perfect weather for its return to Walt Disney World on March 25. There was not a cloud in the sky as the band marched down Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom on Sunday, March 27. In addition to visiting Magic Kingdom, the students enjoyed Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and a visit to Universal Studios before returning home. 

BBH Assistant Band Director John Pasternak said the trip was “a huge success.”

“Our students represented their district and their community well,” he said. “All the directors are so very proud of our students for a fantastic performance.”

The BBH Marching Band will next return to Walt Disney World in spring of 2024.

The Brecksville Theatre’s Frozen Jr. summer camps can be called a success before they even happened this year, as registration is full for almost all sessions. The camp will take place July 25-Aug. 6 at the BBH Middle School Auditorium and will of course focus on numbers from Disney’s 2013 animated film and the 2018 Broadway adaptation. Theatrical performances will return to The Brecksville Theatre in the fall with 42nd Street.

Lastly, please save the date for public tours of Chippewa Elementary, Highland Drive Elementary and Hilton Elementary all scheduled to permanently close at the end of this school year. To commemorate this occasion and to perhaps stroll down memory lane, these buildings will be open to the public during Brecksville’s Home Days happening June 24-26. More details will be available soon.

The ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new elementary opening this September will take place on Monday, Aug. 1, at 6:30 p.m. ∞