What began as a school public relations campaign project for a marketing class, quickly became a trip to Capitol Hill for two marketing students from Fairfax High School.
Baylee Deivert and Anne Kim, students in FHS teacher Kathryn Walters’ DECA class, first began wanted to raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer. They began by creating a “Gold Day” at Fairfax High School and collected over 1100 signatures. With that success, the two partnered with The Truth365, an Emmy award-winning grassroots documentary and social media campaign that gives a voice to all children fighting all forms of cancer, to collect over 100,000 signatures online. The students wrote a press release and garnered social media and community attention. The two, along with FHS DECA classmates, brought the petition to Senator Warner in March to discuss childhood cancer. The senator announced he would co-sponsor the bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, a bill designed to increase funding for childhood cancer research, named after a nine year old Virginia girl diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The bill passed the Senate in March.
“We were more than thrilled to get 1,156 signatures from the student at Fairfax High School,” said Kim. “This propelled us to extend the campaign further and arrange a meeting with Senator Mark Warner to deliver the petitions.”
DECA prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, public relations and management in high schools and colleges around the world. Students work on projects throughout the year in a variety of areas including international business, entrepreneurship and community service.
For DECA teacher Kay Walters, the student project exceeded her expectations. “It is really remarkable to see two students have an interest in helping children who are suffering from cancer, apply that interest, and carry out a tremendous DECA Public Relations campaign to raise awareness for pediatric cancer,” said Walters. “Through this project, and collaboration with the organization, TheTruth365, I think the students learned that one voice, one DECA chapter, one high school, and one community can make a difference.”
The students are hopeful their work will inspire others to get involved. “We hope to encourage others to support the mission of The Truth365 and take the initiative to battle pediatric cancer as a community,” said Deivert.