- Faith & Family
Out of the mouth of babes comes knowledge.
This statement is true in regards to Allapattah Middle School students. Many are now more knowledgeable about breast cancer.
The school had a student-organized breast cancer walk at the end of the school day on Oct. 11.
At the walk, students split up in groups and walked around with their pink-accented uniforms as they learned statistics and shared stories about breast cancer.
“Many people in the U.S. have breast cancer, so we’re supporting them,” said Janiyah Byrd, a sixth grader.
She wore her pink ribbon breast cancer earrings, while her friend William Jenkins, another sixth grader, wore his breast cancer socks.
Some of the statistics the students learned were that 1-in-8 women in America will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Another was that 450 men die from breast cancer every year.
Administrators, teachers and other faculty members wore pink shirts as they proudly walked around with students to the different stations.
Bridget McKinney, principal of Allapattah Middle School, said she appreciated the fact that students wanted to do something to bring awareness of breast cancer.
She said it was incredible that they made it a teachable moment and used their root word of the week “cred” by using “credible sources” to find breast cancer statistics.
Regina Sturrup-Davis — a member of the PTSA, grandparent and loved one of many of the students — was also in attendance at the event.
She shared that many of the girls didn’t know about examining their breasts and the boys didn’t know that men could get breast cancer. She believes students will repeat the information that they’ve learned at home and inform others.
“Breast cancer continues to rise in our neighborhoods and the preventative care that’s available to our families is not being utilized,” said Sturrup-Davis. “If we can’t reach the parents, let’s reach the children. Let’s start somewhere.”
Maurice Modest, a mentor and tutor of City Year, a national service organization, said he heard students spreading their knowledge of breast cancer at the walk.
One student shared a story of how his uncle died from breast cancer, according to Modest.
“It’s very empowering to know that even though they’re young, they still care and they’re very involved,” he said. “It’s not only us, but they are also knowledgeable themselves and will inform each other.”
The group of students who organized the event held a sign that said “ Breast cancer can’t hold us back. They said they enjoyed the interactive learning approach of the walk and they were happy that it was something different than ‘learning it from just a book.’
“I’m going to take [what I have learned] and tell all the men and women that I know to go get tested,” said Tamarlese Houston, an eighth grader.
She and other students plan on informing family members to get mammograms and to examine themselves.
McKinney is certain that students will share what they’ve learned with others.
“I think they are going to run home today straight to their loved ones and the first thing that’s going to come out of the mouths is ‘mommy [or dad] guess what we did today?’” she said.
By Malika A. Wright