Long Beach High School senior Gina Symes built a successful fundraising event from scratch this fall, as part of her National Honor Society officer community service project. A Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser on the evening of Oct. 29 brought entertainment and support together in the auditorium and garnered approximately $700 for the American Cancer Society.
The event included a fashion show as well as several student-run acts. Four groups of students, parents, breast cancer survivors and teachers walked the runway on stage, and performances were featured in between their debuts. A band comprised of Ashley Friedman, Zen Yokel, Vann Ceniceros, Matthias Roth and Charlie Ashmead provided music, as did saxophone soloist George Ariza. Jessie Mosley and Melanie Seligman presented a dance interlude.
Gina’s inspiration for the venture came from her own mother, a breast cancer survivor with whom she brainstormed ideas. She carried out a well-organized, enjoyable and meaningful gathering from start to finish, thanks in part to the contributions of her peers and family.
“People kept wanting to help,” Gina said. “I had so much support from students and teachers. It was such a great night.”
Students assisted with the lighting, music and other behind-the-scenes components. The girls soccer team came straight from their game to walk in the show. A photo booth that Gina and her father built was a popular attraction in the commons, and volunteers sold bracelets, keychains, cupcakes and other items.
“This was for me to tell my mom that I realize what she went through was significant, and that I’m really proud of her,” Gina said.