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WEST GOSHEN — The halls of Fugett Middle School were decked with snowflakes, glitter, strings of lights and a Christmas tree while the students and faculty were dressed in their best Christmas get-ups they had.
But this all took place not in December, but on June 5.
Instead of celebrating Christmas in June, Fugett took part in creating a holiday lip dub video for Bringing Hope Home (BHH).
“This year, we decided to go with a holiday theme,” said Caitlin Mahon, developmental coordinator with BHH. “We have this whole Adopt-A-Family program around the holidays and we thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight that and get the kids involved in that awesome program.”
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The nonprofit program, which was started in 2008, provides help for families with cancer in the greater Philadelphia area — southeastern Pennsylvania, all of Delaware and from Cherry Hill to the beaches in New Jersey.
“We provide unexpected amazingness to local families with cancer,” Mahon said. “That’s our tagline — unexpected amazingness. It really does speak to the vibe of who we are and what we do because we provide a light of hope during a really tough time to our families. We pay their bills — rent, PECO, mortgage — while they’re going through treatment.”
Fugett has been a big supporter of BHH and did a Cougars Stomp Cancer 5K earlier this year to raise money for the nonprofit.
BHH has a Students Bringing Hope program, involving between 30 to 40 schools in the area, with Fugett being one of them.
Because of everything they have done, BHH decided to make Fugett a part of their lip dub video, which is only the second one it’s made.
“Fugett is the best,” Mahon said. “Fugett stepped up in such a big way this year. They did the Cougars Stomp Cancer 5K and they had such an awesome spirit, so we asked them to be in our lip dub. We thought this was the place that could really make it happen and they really did.”
The students have known about the video shoot for a few weeks now and they have been excited for it ever since.
So on June 5, the hallways were decked out, and so were the students and staff for the video shoot.
“I wanted to be in front of the camera the entire time,” said Hanna Ribson, an eighth grader at Fugett. “I just wanted to be a part of it. It was really fun.”
To dress the part, Ribson covered herself, from shoulders down, in wrapping paper.
“I just saw the wrapping paper in my house and just wrapped it so that I look like a present,” she said.
Mahon was impressed with how the Fugett student body looked.
“It’s like mini-Mardi Gras,” she said. “It’s so much fun and it gives me chills when they say, ‘We are bringing hope home.’ They get so excited and so behind it. They totally get it and the importance of being there for local families in your community. It’s neat to see come to life.”
With a camera crew roaming the halls as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” playing over the loud speakers, the students and faculty cheered and ran through the hallways singing and dancing.
In the end, the entire student body met in the gymnasium to record a few speaking parts to round out the Adopt-A-Family holiday video.
“What I think of is what the families think when they see this video,” Mahon said. “Here is a school that has just come out in such a big way and raised a ton of money for these families that they haven’t even met before. That just makes me so excited.”
In attendance to watch the organized mass was a family who has been helped by BHH.
“We invite families we’ve helped in the past to come out today,” Mahon said. “We are really like a family. One of our big things is that we aren’t allowed to use the word ‘patient’ because they are a patient everywhere else. To us, they’re our family. That’s really what it’s all about.”
The video shoot went just as planned for BHH and Fugett.
Though the shoot happened in June, the video won’t be out until the holiday season.
“We will blast it far and wide,” Mahon said. “This won’t launch until November, but we are going to have a sneak peek sometime over the summer for the students.”