Blue Streaks Fight for a World Without Cancer


National Honor Society

Warren Hills’ National Honor Society raised $5,700 as a participant April 30 in the Relay for Life at Walters Park in Phillipsburg.

Annalee Bergmann, Staff Reporter

The Warren Hills National Honor Society (NHS) participated in the Relay for Life charity event Saturday, April 30, raising more than $5,700 for cancer awareness and winning a certificate for their successful achievement in donations. The annual event was held at Walters Park in Phillipsburg.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Relay for Life in Warren County, which is designed to spotlight, and enlighten others on, the struggles of people and families fighting cancer. It also celebrates the outstanding countywide fundraising of more than $2 million towards the fight against cancer.

The beauty of the purpose of the day, matched by the beauty of the weather, allowed the teams from different schools and communities to intermingle and bond over their efforts to combat and attempt to wipe out cancer.

“I really liked the sense of community, and how everyone was super supportive and friendly,” said senior Loren Burrows, an active member of the Warren Hills NHS who participated in the event.

Opening ceremonies began at noon, with the playing of the national anthem, followed by a proclamation from Phillipsburg Mayor Todd M. Tersigni. His speech recognized the 25 years Warren County has participated and the generous contributions totaling more than $2 million for the American Cancer Society. Tersigni also applauded the community’s commitment and contributions in the fight against cancer.

The Penrose family was honored for bringing the Relay for Life event to the county 25 years ago, and for remaining a strong voice and presence in the process.

A chair had been placed at the registration table in memory of John Penrose, known as the “Grandfather of Relay.” He was known for sitting at the same chair every year at the registration table, and the chair was placed there to remind everyone of the launching of the event a quarter of a century ago.

Leading this year’s Relay for Life survivor’s lap was a high school teen, Katya Saad, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2020. The Phillipsburg High School student was flanked by her friends during the survivor lap.

Some other activities during the day included bean bag toss, Frisbee tic-tac-toe, dance challenge, scavenger hunt, live concert and hula-hoop contest. There were also tents set up to earn additional money for the event.

In the evening, a survivors dinner under the pavilion was followed by a caregivers dessert event.

The glorious day was eclipsed by the emotional lighting and release of the luminaries. These bright lanterns (made of paper bags) were inscribed with thoughts, memories, wishes and uplifting stories to commemorate the lives of people affected by cancer.

The sight of the luminaries illuminated all night long in the park was inspiring and emotional.

“I think it was special because it was the moment everyone was waiting for,” said Warren Hills senior and NHS member Cassidy Melendez. “It was the part of the event that really brings us together, and it’s appreciative of all the hard work it took to get there.”