By: Staff Writer Ishika Chawla
The final set of performances for the night started at 7 pm, with a rendition of “Flashlight” by Senior Soukya Inamdar. This performance was followed by an original song composed by Junior Ashley Mehta and Senior Link Lee about Relay for Life (RFL) with backup beats by Senior Zachary Wang.
Afterwards, the MSJ Syncopasians, headed by Sophomore Emily Jean and Senior Katie Jiang, sang Beyoncé’s “Love on Top.” Before the final performance of the night, Faculty Adviser John Boegman made a speech regarding the pain of cancer and all those that cancer affects. He transitioned into the last performance by saying, “Everyone has a time where they are weeping on their knees, but you’re not alone, because everybody hurts.” Teachers Monica Kraft, Arshiya Sultana, Lisa Ishimine, Jean Dotson, Sandra Cohen, Lauren Ware-Hartbeck, Kim Mathis, Peter Geshke, Jennifer Moore, and others joined Boegman onstage, along with Principal Zack Larsen and Junior Ashlesha Sathe in order to sing “Everybody Hurts.”
After the performance, Mayor Bill Harrison, Board of Trustees Member Michelle Burke, and District Superintendent Jim Morris all spoke regarding RFL and their experiences. Junior Chhavi Singal, the Luminaria Head, then made a speech regarding the importance of the Luminaria ceremony and said that “[The candles] represent a shared vision for a cancer-free future.”
The RFL Committee then set up a blowup screen on which to project the Purple Couch video in order for students to communicate why they relay and what RFL means to them. This was followed by a video, which was “A Message to All Survivors” from students who shared their personal thank you’s to the survivors that inspired them.
The audience gathered again at the stage to hear a speech by Junior Anuj Nanavati, a cancer survivor who was diagnosed in July of 2015. He shared his emotional story and gave the audience insight into the experience of cancer itself and the treatment.
Nanavati’s speech was followed by Sathe reappearing onstage in order to sing “Fix You” by Coldplay. After the song ended, the committee outlined the guidelines of the Luminaria ceremony in which students and teachers gathered on the track with candles in paper cups to take a silent lap around the track in honor of those who are currently fighting cancer or have already passed away due to the disease. The side of the track was illuminated by candles in paper bags that had been made and decorated previously as homage to those affected by cancer.
After the Luminaria ceremony ended, the RFL Committee thanked everyone for their hard work and gave a brief description of the events that were scheduled to happen throughout the night.