EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 5, 2013

Bird, bird's the word; annoying song makes money for One Fund

A look at how the Merrimack Valley is helping out the One Fund

By Paul Tennant and Mark E. Vogler, Staff writers
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — North Andover High School students got so sick and tired of hearing “bird, bird, bird, bird bird’s the word” that they raised more than $1,400 to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The NAHS Student Council wanted to organize an activity that would raise money for the One Fund quickly, explained Conor Meehan, an English teacher who serves as faculty adviser for the council.

“We wanted to do something immediately,” Meehan said. So they did some research and found out about a fundraiser that involved playing a particularly annoying song until listeners coughed up enough money to meet the goal.

After checking out some annoying songs, it came down to “MmBop” by Hanson, a ditty that came out in the 1990s – or, good old “Surfin’ Bird,” according to juniors Erik Hollenbeck, treasurer of the council, and Nicole Martel, the secretary.

“I think it (’Surfin’ Bird’) got famous because it’s so annoying,” Hollenbeck said. Readers over the age of 60 probably recall the redundant lyrics: “Oh well a bird, bird, bird, bird bird’s the word, oh well a bird, bird, bird, bird bird’s the word ...”

North Andover High students had to listen to that at the start of the school day, whenever they changed classes, during lunch and at the end of the day. Each time the song was played, Meagan DiMario, administrative assistant at the high school, vigorously announced over the public address system that if students, teachers and other staffers could not stand hearing about “the bird,” all they had to do was reach into their pockets to contribute to the One Fund until the goal of $1,000 was reached.

“People were mad,” Hollenbeck said, after they had heard “bird, bird, bird” umpteen times.

“They knew it was for a good cause,” Martel said.

Meehan, Hollenbeck and Martel said the students themselves were effective in getting each other to kick in for the One Fund. If one student complained about “that wicked annoying song,” another would say, “then donate to the One Fund,” they said.

Members of the Student Council, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and the National Honor Society did a thorough job of collecting donations, Meehan said.

The students reached the $1,000 mark Friday, he said. A parent, inspired by the young people’s generosity, wrote a check for $400, he added.

“I am very proud of these students,” NAHS Principal Carla Scuzzarella said.

Haverhill second-grader sells cookies for cause

Ben Harrington, a second-grader at St. Joseph School in Haverhill, felt so strongly about doing something to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings that he even considered baking cookies himself at home.

His mom, Erin, took him to Piro’s Bakery in Methuen instead. Piros donated the cookies to Ben. He took the to school and sold them for a dollar apiece during lunch.

“With his excellent sales skills and big heart, Ben was able to sell all of the cookies, raising $100 — which did include a $5 donation from his mom and dad so he would have a landmark number to send in,” Dawn DiPersio, a parent at the school, said.

The school’s PTO also raised another $150 from a road race it organized for the One Fund. The group donated $1 for each of the 150 registered runners.

Phillips Academy pitches in

Phillips Academy students Peyton McGovern,14, of Methuen, and Olivia LaMarche, 15, of Lynnfield, ran their own “tag team” marathon last Sunday to raise $3,200 for the One Fund.

The two freshman students split the distance, each one doing 13.1 miles while the other drove in a car in a route from the actual Boston Marathon to the Phillips Academy campus.

“Getting out of Boston was the tricky part,” LaMarche said.

“We did a lot of back roads so we wouldn’t get on the main highway. A lot of the route was down Route 28. To get out of the city, Peyton ran five miles and I ran five miles, then we switched to two miles turns the rest of the way,” she said.

Peyton’s dad, Paul — a veteran of about 25 past marathons, though not this year — accompanied the students on their four-hour run.

The Andover Rotary Club and Phillips Academy faculty and students all contributed to the fund-raiser.

The student runners also left a giant poster signed by 500 Phillips faculty and students at Copley Square in Boston, at the finish line where a makeshift shrine was created in memory of the three people who died in the Boston Marathon bombings and the MIT police officer was shot to death three nights later by the bombing suspects. The poster included the initials of the dead victims.

Cottage helps out

Methuen’s Collie Ryan set out with to raise $10,000 for the One Fund, by donating 100% of food sales at Irish Cottage one day (including his cost of the food).

Lawrence firefighters and teachers unite

John McCarthy, a teacher at the Oliver School in Lawrence, was inspired by a personal experience to get involved in fund-raising activities for the Boston Marathon victims. He finished just ahead of the bombings.

McCarthy shared his plans with fellow Oliver teacher Maureen Santiago and her husband, Lawrence firefighter Hector Santiago. The result: The Lawrence Teachers Union, Lawrence Firefighters Union Local 146 and Lawrence Firefighters Relief’s In held a special fund-raiser Friday night at the Relief’s In at 1 Market St., Lawrence.

“John spearheaded this whole fund-raiser and we donated the hall and jumped in to help him,” said Hector Santiago, who is treasurer of the firefighters union.

“We’re shooting for $15,000,” Santiago said of the fund-raising goal.

Admission tickets sold for $20 and the event included entertainment, raffles and a cash bar. Commonwealth Motors agreed to match whatever was raised through ticket sales. Boston pride T-shirts, which are being specially made for the event, were also be sold. All proceeds will benefit marathon victims and their families.

“Whatever we bring in at the door, Charlie Daher said he’s going to match,” Santiago said of the Lawrence businessman and car dealership owner.

Lawrence Firefighter’s Union had already raised $3,500 in sales of Boston Strong T-shirts at $20 bucks a piece going into Friday night’s fund-raiser.

Jean day

“At Lawrence Catholic Academy, the kid’s had a jean day and raised $807 and they donated to Boston Strong Fund over here,” Santiago said.

Also stepping up to the plate....

On Saturday April 27th, Will Medina, President of the South Lawrence West Little League and Softball (SLW), kicked off Opening Day 2013 with the presentation of a check from the league’s girls and boys to Francisco Ureña, Commissioner of City of Boston Veterans’ Services.

Ureña, who was previously veterans services director for the City of Lawrence, received the check on behalf of Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the One Fund Boston.

Originally, the league fund drive was launched by the children to support breast cancer survivors. It expanded to include the One Fund Boston after the Patriots Day tragedy. SLW had over 400 children and their families involved in raising money through donations and actions to directly benefit the survivors of breast cancer and the One Fund Boston.