Boyce Middle School holds MDA fundraiser for student

Published Mar 27, 2013 at 11:36 am (Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 11:36 am)

Appearances can often be deceiving. For example, Upper St. Clair’s Rachel Tudi, with her brightly polished nails, gleaming hair and warm smile, is in many ways a typical sixth-grader. But to her teachers and classmates at Boyce Middle School, Rachel is anything but average.

Rachel has muscular dystrophy, and while she has experienced many obstacles while battling the disease, her optimistic attitude influences the entire Boyce community.

As Boyce physical education teacher Dana Mellinger says, “Rachel is so positive. She’s an inspiration for many people.”

One of the ways Rachel motivates others is through her determined fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). This year, she set a personal goal of raising $10,000 for MDA, and her Boyce family wanted to help her meet that goal.

So, on March 22, with her parents, Cindy and Mike, and her sister, Paige, watching, the Boyce community presented Rachel with a check for $2,500. After thanking everyone, Rachel gave the check to MDA representative Patty McGuire.

The students at Boyce raised the money for MDA through two fundraisers – a “March Madness” basketball fundraiser and a Valentine Day Gram. Physical education teachers Mellinger and Pete Serio collaborated with the student council to organize the basketball tournament fundraiser, where four-person student teams made a $20 per team donation to play in the tournament.

In February, Boyce staff members Amy Antonio and Sue Fleckenstein organized a Valentine Day Gram fundraiser for MDA. For a 50 cent donation, students sent messages to friends and teachers the week of Valentine’s Day. Parents were also offered the opportunity to send a Valentine message to their child, which proved very popular. Antonio said the fundraiser was “a great success.”

Antonio said that Rachel had two surgeries on her hips – one before Christmas and one after – so she’s missed a lot of school. Her classmates wanted to let Rachel know they were thinking of her and asked what they could do to help her and her family. Antonio said that rather than ask for something for herself, Rachel wanted the students to do something for another favorite charity of hers, the Washington County Humane Society. Dog food and dog toys were collected and donated because of Rachel’s suggestion.

Rachel’s mother, Cindy, said her daughter has always been concerned about others. In addition to working to help MDA and the Humane Society, Rachel also raises money for breast cancer. “I love to try to save lives,” said Rachel.

Cindy described the students and staff at Boyce as “utterly amazing.” “They’ve been extremely supportive,” she said.

Rachel has been able to keep up with her schoolwork while recovering from surgery, thanks to teacher Matt Dudley bringing work to her home. Rachel said she missed seeing her friends and teachers, so she was happy to be back at Boyce, even for a short visit.

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