Most of Michael Crim’s Agriscience classes at Ridge Spring-Monetta High School start with a simple agriculture-based math problem – real-world problems, as Crim calls them.
Students call them many things, but that is how they often start the class. It gives Crim time to take the roll and prepare for the rest of the Agriscience hour. However, on one recent Tuesday, Crim started off class by circling the students, looking every one in the eye, and asked each one three questions: “Do you have a family member who died of cancer?”, “Do you have a neighbor down the road from you that died of cancer?” and “Do you have a church member right now that you can name that is fighting cancer?”
As he asked each of the students their question, their answers were mostly yes; but he challenged those who weren’t sure to ask their parents, and by the next day, all students answered “yes.”
One student was eager to answer “yes,” and that student was senior Casey Moss. Moss is a senior in the class, and eagerly replied, “Cancer killed my granddaddy and my aunt is a cancer survivor.”
Then Crim told his own cancer story.
Crim said that in his family, no one he could name had been affected by cancer. He mentioned that people in his church family in Johnston had died from cancer, but it never hit home to him until his father was being treated for emphysema. His father fought hard for six years, and after a routine visit to his doctor at the Veteran’s Administration, the term “lung cancer” was mentioned. At that point, he said cancer became a family issue for him. Crim told of his father going through treatment, and he battled hard for two years. Then, one Friday in January 2009, the doctor simply said to Crim’s family, “It is time for (him) to be comfortable.”
Three weeks later, on Feb. 15, 2009, Crim’s father died because of cancer.
After Crim shared his cancer testimonial, the class showed no emotion – just a few moments of shocked silence.
Then Crim shared his praises of The American Cancer Society and stated that research funded by that organization helped his father to have a full, productive life even while he was fighting cancer.
Crim then explained how Relay For Life is a national fundraiser that takes place in every state, and even other countries around the world.
The class then watched a video on the history and organization of Relay For Life and also how the funds raised by the event are used by The American Cancer Society for research and to improve the overall lives of cancer patients.
At the conclusion of the video, Crim placed the class in different groups, and students were assigned the task of brainstorming fundraising ideas for FFA’S Relay on The Ridge.
One group developed an idea around a chili cook-off and another suggested a bake-off for the school’s faculty. Another group, led by Moss, developed a car-crushing event idea.
Moss’ group developed a team called Crushing Cancer. They set a date for the event through Warren Wintrode, Ridge Spring-Monetta’s principal. They advertised the event on campus and got a donated car. When everything was completed, for a fee, 30 students bashed a car with a sledgehammer, and 10 staff and faculty members joined in. Consequently, the class is $200 closer to defeating cancer.