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Rockin’ to find a cure

Students do much of the work necessary in putting together a concert that raises about $2,000 to donate to Relay for Life.

April 06, 2008|By Daniel Tedford

Shadow Lane didn’t go to Orange Coast Middle College High School when he first showed up to do community service. But that didn’t matter to the 16-year-old. All he needed to know was that he and the school shared a common goal — fighting for a cure for cancer.

Shadow met the principal of the high school, Bob Nanney, at Relay for Life last year when Shadow walked 16 hours in memory of his younger brother, Deacon, who was lost to cancer in 2001.

“People got [keyed] up about that,” said Shawdow, now a Middle College student, about the positive reaction people gave for the length of his relay walk.

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Together Nanney and Shadow have worked to do community service and create awareness with other students, including helping to put together a benefit concert Sunday at The Crossing Community Church Loft to raise money for this year’s Relay for Life at OCC.

“We realized there are a number of students with family members who have cancer,” said Nanney, who is a cancer survivor. “But the intent was not to gain sympathy, but [to show that] that Relay for Life can fight cancer.”

The event featured bands and performers such as Tempus Fusion, Taylor Smith and Paper Thin Walls, all of whom are alumni or students at the school.

“I couldn’t be happier. This is so exciting,” Nanney said. “Anything that brings our school better together as a family.”

Beverly McKeehan, the community service specialist at Orange Coast Middle College, said community service projects, such as the benefit concert, aren’t unusual at the school of about 100 students. The school has acquired about 6,000 hours of community service, McKeehan said, and the students come forward with their own ideas on a consistent basis.

The concert was one of those efforts. Eight students and two student advisors put the show together, but the students did the majority of the job by finding sponsors, performers and a venue.

“It has been a lot of work,” 17-year-old Brandon Whitfield said. “We knew it was a more ambitious program from the start. It is working out well so far.”

The show had about 250 guests for the show and raised about $2,000 to donate to Relay for Life.

Despite their good intentions, the students struggled at times to get support.

“One of the hardest parts was getting sponsors,” 18-year-old Katelyn Drew said. “As teenagers, I guess we seem sketchy. It can be discouraging, but it makes you try harder.”

The students eventually did get sponsors, mostly through family members or other student connections, and found a venue through Whitfield’s church, The Crossing. The school also had a plethora of talent for the student’s to tap for the live entertainment.

“It’s cool — we play gigs all the time, but this is our first benefit concert,” Tempus Fusion drummer and Orange Coast Middle College senior Taylor Stevenson said. “It’s cool to see how by playing music we can help others rather than just ourselves.”


DANIEL TEDFORD may be reached at (714) 966-4632 or at daniel.tedford@latimes.com.

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