Bishop Canevin High School students didn’t know alumna Becca McKim Barrett, but that didn’t matter. She had serious health problems, and so did her youngest son. That was enough.
When word came that the 1994 Canevin graduate needed a motorized wheelchair, students donated money for two “dress down” days, raising $2,000. That was just the beginning.
“When our parents got word as to why we were having a dress down day and were really moved by the students’ response, they issued a challenge,” principal Michael Joyce said. “One parent offered a $500 match, and along with other alumni, they raised an additional $3,000.”
The funds paid for the wheelchair and will be used for other medical expenses.
A mother of four and a grandmother, Barrett was diagnosed with lupus in 2009. Her youngest son, who has autism and Tourette syndrome, wasn’t doing well. A few years later, he was hit by a car, causing a traumatic brain injury. In 2017, doctors found four inoperable tumors on Barrett’s spine, and she’s been confined to her home. The wheelchair means freedom.
“There are not adequate words to convey my gratitude,” Barrett told her alma mater. “There’s always been something special about Canevin and I’m so glad to see that hasn’t changed.”
Two seniors spoke about why students answered the call.
“She was one of us, a student here,” said Nevan Crossey, student government president. “Once a Crusader, always a Crusader.”
Classmate Erin Egan added, “We’re always reminded to be a person for others, and it’s needed now especially with the pandemic.”
Crossey and Egan are winners of Bishop Canevin’s AMDG award, the letters taken from the Jesuit motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, “all things for God’s greater glory.” The award is given for excellence in academics, in service to others, and in demonstrating the school’s dedication to the Ignation tradition.
“The example of these students, all the student body, our faculty, staff, parents and alumni, is a wonderful demonstration of what Catholic schools mean to the community,” Joyce said. “Even in this pandemic, we have continued to live our mission and challenge the students.”