Pink is their signature color—at least, when it comes to honoring a beloved former Oak Forest High School teacher. They might have been a day past the end of breast cancer awareness month, but students were still thinking pink.
Students dusted the high school lunchroom with spaslehs of pink; students nibbled on cupcakes with pink ribbons, while cafeteria staff all wore pink shirts.
Math teacher Skip Moroz had his personal reasons for wearing pink.
"My mother is a survivor. She had a lumpectomy and is still here at the age of 92," he said. A teacher at Oak Forest High since 1973, Moroz and his family wouldn't know what to do without his mom.
"She is the apple of my eye and the strength of our entire family," he said.
Para-educator Heather Murphy told a different story.
"I wear pink in memory of my Aunt Joan Heft," she said. "She didn't make it. If there is one thing I want to stress, it's important to get your yearly breast check-up. People don't think it will happen to them; it can."
Social worker Jennifer DeBosschere explains what made her wrap the school in pink. DeBosschere, who has been at the school for 23 years, was looking for a way to unite staff and students.
"My intent was to have an awareness day to help build character, empathy, and unity among Oak Forest High School staff and students, as well as to distribute information on the social issue," she said.
"I randomly selected breast sancer as the first awareness topic since we just finished the month of October, with October being the national month to give attention to this disease."
But she couldn't have predicted the flood of pink that came rushing through the doors.
"I saw pink tu-tus, pink socks, pink makeup, pink necklaces and many shirts with some—if not all—pink in them! I had asked the OFHS staff to spread the news to their students about the PINKOUT and this worked! In addition, OFHS Student clubs offered immediately to help with this awareness day. Clubs and sponsors (in parentheses) included the varsity club (Matt Spreadbury), Ecology Club (Dawn Sasek) and NHS (Kelly Henry).
NHS members helped make cotton candy, puppy chow and many pink baked goods for a bake sale. Students from the John Amico School of Hair Design shared pink hair clips and braids with OFHS students, for a small donation to the cause.
Students in the third period hour study hall decked the cafeteria walls with pink decorations, and other students and staff made pink and white bracelets. Later in the day, 25 percent of profits from the Tinley Park Potbelly's were poured into a student scholarship fund in the name of former teacher Mary Renzino.
Renzino was a Home Economics teacher who died after a battle with breast cancer.