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Post image for Hillview School’s Relay for Life event raises $65,000 for American Cancer Society

Over 300 students raised $65,000 for the American Cancer Society as part of the 3rd Annual “Menlo Park Relay for Life – Hillview Edition” on Friday night, May 19. All funds raised go to the American Cancer Society to support research to find a cure for cancer and provide services — everything from wigs to wheelchairs — for people battling cancer.

More than 40 teams of students have worked over the last few months raising money through bake sales, walking door-to-door in their neighborhoods, contacting family near and far, reaching into their own piggy banks, and more.

At the event, the Hillview track was magically transformed (by volunteer elves!) into a peaceful purple and green neon haven and as kids began their journey and the sky turned dark, the lights continued to fluctuate as the participants wore team color-coded neon necklaces, headbands and bracelets.

Participants also drew an outline of their hand on a banner and wrote a pledge for how they would make healthy choices to prevent cancer

Black lights lit up tables and caught festive clothing as kids, parents and teachers walked or ran around the track all evening — way past most bedtimes!

By the end of the night, the track was outlined with luminaries that participants made complete with  personal messages highlighted on each bag.  Most of the kids collected a bead with each lap they took and looped it onto a piece of yarn and they had fun comparing their distances with one another.  The student who walked the farthest did 50 +/- laps!

You can click here if you would like to make a donation to add to Hillview’s funds raised for the American Cancer Society.

Ms. Batiste, who teaches 7th and 8th grade English at Hillview and is the staff sponsor of the Hillview student service team, said: “Relay for Life is such a wonderful event, and it warms my heart to see students’ generosity on full display. This event is especially important to me because I have lost several grandparents to cancer.”

“I like Relay for Life because we give back to the community and help those who can’t afford cancer treatment, said Henry Shane, an 8th grader on the Service Leadership Team at Hillview. “It could save someone’s life.”

(Waiting for review by Elise Kratzer to see if she feels comfortable having her name listed).

Although the event was focused on Hillview students and was not open to the general public, one team of students from Menlo Atherton High School’s Leo Club, a charter of the Lion’s Club, came early to help set up and participated in the event. One of the Leo club’s founders, Elise Kratzer, was an active member of the Hillview Service Team and has continued to support the Hillview Relay for Life as she has continued on to high school.

A few days after Hillview’s Relay for Life event, one of Hillview’s former staff members, Ernie Imura, passed away from pancreatic cancer. Ernie, affectionately known as “Mr. I”, was a beloved physical education teacher who worked at Hillview between the years of 1987 and 2012. Aside from a short hiatus, Ernie spent 20 years working at Hillview. Staff members had raised money and walked the Relay for Life event in Ernie’s honor.

Relay for Life started in 1985 with one person, Dr. Gordon “Gordy” Klatt, in Tacoma, Washington, and now takes place in 27 countries. The Hillview Middle School event is consider a pre-relay as a lead up to the 22 hour Menlo Park Relay for Life from Saturday morning, August 12 at 11am through Sunday morning, August 13 at 9am at Burgess Park.

 If you would like to sign up to join the August Relay for Life in Menlo Park with a team from your company, neighborhood, or family, click here to join or contact our Menlo Park volunteer coordinator, Amy Boggs, at 

Gina Hart, Gina Parks, Lynn Auslander, Charea Batiste, Amy Boggs, and Elizabeth Ouren contributed to this article

Photos by Gina Hart and Elizabeth Ouren (photo of outlined hands)

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Menlo Park Kiwanis Club awards $55,000 in scholarships to Menlo-Atherton High School seniors

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Eight outstanding Menlo-Atherton High School seniors received scholarships at the Kiwanis Club’s annual scholarship luncheon, Tuesday, May 23, at the Allied Arts Guild. This year’s scholarship awards totaled more than $55,000, up from $41,000 last year. More than $1.1 million has been awarded to local students during the lifetime of the Club’s scholarship program. “There are […]

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Free Jazzercise classes in Menlo Park for young women during 2017

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Young women ages 16 to 21 are invited to take exercise classes at Menlo Park Jazzercise at no charge for the rest of 2017. Dubbed “GirlForce,” the program aims to empower young women by giving them a place to get fit, learn healthy habits, and find a place they belong in their communities, free of charge. […]

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Drug bust on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park

On May 23, 2017, the Menlo Park Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was made aware through community complaints that subjects on the 600 block of Santa Cruz Avenue were selling marijuana. SIU utilized an undercover Menlo Park Police Officer who posed as a prospective buyer. During the operation, the undercover officer made contact with a […]

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FedEx contract employee arrested for three residential burglaries in Menlo Park and Atherton

The Menlo Park Police Department today (5/23) arrested 57-year-old Hayward resident, Kevin Baker, as a suspect in residential burglaries at one residence in Menlo Park and two in Atherton. Baker was booked into the San Mateo County jail on three counts of residential burglary. This arrest was the direct result of a collaborative investigative effort by […]

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Stanford Park Hotel launches “Music on the Patio”

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“Music on the Patio” features free, live, al fresco music at the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 6:00 to 9:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 to 9:00 pm with a variety of entertainment. Local artists like Jimmy Ashley (pictured), Tom Duarte (Father’s Day), Lily Holbrook, Dave […]

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Jim Plunkett is keynote speaker at Rotary Club lunch on May 22

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Jim Plunkett former professional quarterback and two time Super Bowl winner will be the keynote speaker at the May 22, 2017 Rotary Club of Menlo Park’s annual Scholastic Awards Ceremony. Approximately 120 high school students from four high schools (Menlo Atherton, Eastside College Prep, Sacred Heart and Menlo) will be acknowledged for excellence in a […]

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Menlo Park Mayor to host community meeting on immigration related topics on May 24

Community members are invited to listen to a panel discussion on recent developments related to immigration, ICE, and how the nation is handling detainees in the County jail. The panel discussion will be moderated by Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith. Panelists include: Carlos Bolanos, Sheriff of San Mateo County; Paul Kunkel, Captain – San Mateo County […]

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Local Menlo Park resident hosts presentation on Hope for Kenya at Café Zoë

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Local Menlo Park resident and Alto International School teacher, Ina Berenger, will host Peter Midodo from Kenya, head of Joyschool, and Derek Bevan, founder of Hope for Kenya for a presentation on their charitable work with Hope for Kenya. According to the founders, Hope for Kenya’s mission is “to construct high quality, self sustaining, primary […]

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Children’s Champions set for May 20 at Menlo College

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Children’s Champions  will take place on May 20 at Menlo College (1000 El Camino Real, Atherton). The main event is noon to 2:00 pm with a VIP event from 11:00 am to noon. The purpose is to raise awareness for at-risk children in the Bay Area and raise funds for Wender Weis Foundation for Children and Fit Kids. It will […]

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Schoolhouse Rocks 5k & 1-mile walk/run takes place on Sunday, May 21

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The Menlo Park City School District fun run, the Schoolhouse Rocks 5K, is next Sunday, May 21, starting 9:00 am at Hillview Middle School. Choose between a chip-timed 5K or a 1-mile family walk/run. Between 7:30 and 8:30 there will be music, a pre-run warm-up and a coffee cart. Where Do I Pick Up My Race Packet? […]

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