Spirit week concludes at Nonnewaug High, more than $4K raised

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Spirit week concludes at Nonnewaug High, more than $4K raised


Students clad in red make their way through the halls of Nonnewaug High School during Friday’s annual scavenger hunt in support of the Leukemia Society. Steve Bigham Republican-American

WOODBURY — Friday’s “red out” event at Nonnewaug High School marked the end of a weeklong spirit week in which students and staff raised money and awareness in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The annual event began back in 2020 and was the brainchild of leukemia survivor, Katie Brown, the daughter of NHS math teacher Tricia Brown.

Since then, the tradition has grown into a weeklong event filled with various activities and themes designed to raise money.

As of Friday, the school raised more than $4,000 to the cause with the senior class bringing in the most funds.

For Brown, who has been a teacher at NHS since 2012, the annual fundraising campaign is an emotional experience and says she is proud of the student body for continuing Katie’s legacy and for bringing attention to the disease, which, Brown said, is the number one killer of children.

“Watching them support this cause brings tears to my eyes. It’s an overwhelming feeling to see how this has grown and the school spirit it has created,” said Brown, who said Katie is now a sophomore at UConn and is considered cured.

Celebrating “Red Out” day at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury Friday are (from left) teacher Tricia Brown, junior organizers Anna Shupenis and Rebecca Varnum, and Principal Pam Sordi. Steve Bigham Republican-American

This year’s campaign was co-organized by juniors Anna Shupenis and Rebecca Varnum, who, as part of the nationwide program, are competing to be named “students of the year.” Both were nominated for the honor by Brown.

“I accepted the nomination because I wanted to be able to help someone who was going through what is probably the hardest time in their life,” Shupenis said.

Friday’s “red out” featured the entire student body dressed in red and taking part in a variety of events, including a scavenger hunt and basketball game.

On Monday, things kicked off with students being asked to carry their books “in something other than a backpack. Students arrived carrying their things in all sorts of contraptions: a kayak, microwave oven, stroller, air fryer and grocery cart. One student brought her little sister to school to carry her stuff.

Other themes included “beach day,” “decades day” and “color wars.”