Chesy students raising money for heart research

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, November 11, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — He was remembered for his caring, wisdom, guidance and devotion to Chesapeake schools.

Grover “Joe” Smith was a longtime principal of the village’s high school and his sudden death from a heart attack left a void among those who loved and respected him.

Now as a way to honor the educator and to help in the fight against the disease that took his life the students at Chesapeake Middle school are going to shoot Hoops for Heart, a national fund-raiser to support the work of the American Heart Association.

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It’s a tradition at the school to raise money for AHA, but this year it will be a little bit different as the school has named the event the Joe Smith Memorial Hoops for Heart.

For the past few weeks the entire school has been collecting money for the AHA.

“If they get a $5 minimum (donation), they can come in for a basketball party,” according to Cecili Nida, physical education teacher and coordinator of the event, along with Susan Tweel, also a phys ed teacher.

The party will run throughout the day next Monday for the students during their rotation period.

At that time, they can come to the gym and play a scrimmage game. Members of the Chesapeake High basketball team will come over to officiate and lend support.

“Each grade level will be there at a different time,” Nida said.

When Nida started talking about the project with the students, she shared some of her own philosophy of volunteerism.

“I just told them about how it is good to do good for others,” she said. “That is how a community survives and to not just think about themselves. It’s a community service attitude. It should come from their hearts.”

It’s a point of view that the man Dick Gilpin eulogized as “a friend to a lot of people in town,” would understand.

“He always had the kids at heart,” the Chesapeake mayor said about Smith. “He was just a great guy.”