When setting a Pink Week fundraising record is secondary

By collecting more than $2,000, the PALS shattered their previous best, but that’s not the real reason this year’s event was so significant

DON’T GET HIT: With the same leaping ability he brings to heading soccer balls near an opponents’ goal, McCallum PAL Silvio Guzman goes airborne to dodge a water-filled balloon during lunch on Thursday in front of a large crowd of fellow students. For $1, students could get three balloons to throw at the PALS. The atmosphere was festive in the courtyard, and all proceeds benefited the Breast Cancer Research Center of Austin. “It’s great that breast cancer is being discussed at McCallum,” said freshman Micah Brinton, who participated in some of the festivities in the courtyard this week. “It brings awareness to this type of cancer that many deal with every day. I hope that the awareness and fundraising continues past this week.”

If you look only at the bottom line, Pink Week 2021 was an unqualified success. The fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin raised more than $2,000, the highest total since Cowles brought Pink Week to McCallum during his first year as PALs adviser back in 2011.

The group surpassed $1,500 on Thursday and received two $100 donations, one from a teacher and one from a PAL to break the $2,000 barrier for the first time ever.

But when we asked Cowles about the importance of this year’s Pink Week, he made it clear its significance went far beyond money or even breast-cancer awareness.

“Every day was better than ever,” he said. “The kids were in need of a carnival, and this was that, an opportunity to gather socially: an excellent chance to have fun and to be together.”

We were going to make Pink Week our Tuesday Top 10 photo essay, but we simply just couldn’t stop at 10 images. Instead, we went back to the start of the school year to create a visual archive of Pink Week from idea, to plan, to well-executed event that raised funds and, more importantly, was fun. We hope you enjoy it.

PREPARING FOR PALS: Senior Zoe Lynch (center), senior Marina Garfield (left) and junior Caytie Brown (far left) join their fellow PALs on Aug. 30 in writing their shared values and goals for the coming year on a poster. “The PALs were making posters about PAL norms and what it means to be a PAL,” Lynch said. As a second-year PAL, Lynch is most excited to visit and interact with the elementary schoolers. “Last year we had to do it over Zoom,” she said. “It was definitely a lot harder to interact with them because kids don’t really want to stay in Zoom longer than they have to.” Lynch and the PAL team will continue to apply their “norms” to their work and projects this year including the annual Pink Week campaign to raise awareness and money for the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin. Caption by Lucy Marco. Photo by Smith Bohls.

STARTING TO THINK PINK: Senior Anna McClellan paints a sign to promote Pink Week on Sept. 22, the first day the PALS started prepping for Pink Week. In addition to making promotional posters, McClellan and the other members of the PALS communications committee helped to get the word out by creating graphics. “It was a great start to the process on the communication committee role to get the word out,” McClellan said. “Just being able to make posters and get the word out while being creative was really fun.” But this year’s Pink Week meant more to McClellan, the PALs and the entire campus this year. “Being able to bring back the water balloons and the trinket sales and bring back the MAC spirit that we missed last year due to COVID and being able to experience that spirit again was really great especially for the upperclassmen who had experienced it before COVID hit.” Caption by Dave Winter. Photo by Kaela Martin.

SUNDAY FUNDAY: PALS junior Jolie Gabriel and senior Kendall Smith decorate the school the Sunday before Pink Week in preparation for the week-long fundraiser. The PALS garnished the main corridor with hand-painted posters, pink streamers and lights to set off the festivities for the following week. “This was my first Pink Week as a member of PALS,” senior PAL Anna McClellan said. “Being able to work behind the scenes on decorating the school, as well as planning out events and activities for the whole week was super fun, and something I’m really glad I had the chance to do.” Caption by Naomi Di-Capua. Photo by Elly Schottman.

PUSHING UP THE RECORD: Freshmen Sam Kruck and Bennett Post duel it out during the Monday push-up competition. For Kruck and Post, this year’s Pink Week was a warm welcome to the McCallum community. ¨I really like the whole vibe here, it’s a lot better than middle school,” Post said. “They were playing music and it was really active.¨ Both said they would do the contest again next year, hoping to both raise more money and beat the new record. Caption by Helen Martin. Photo by Anna Bausman.

NAILING PINK WEEK ON THE HEAD: The way senior PALs member Gage Sanchez sees Pink Week, it’s not every day that your school turns into a carnival, so you have to make the most of it. “I love how spirited everyone gets,” he said. “It’s such a great atmosphere for everyone to come together and participate in something that raises money for such a great cause.” Monday, Oct. 4 marked the first day of McCallum’s annual Pink Week — an event coordinated by the PALs program under Mr. Cowles. Booths and events, like Monday afternoon’s nail painting and hair styling, are held daily in the courtyard to raise money for the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin. This strikes Sanchez as something unique to the McCallum event. “I really love that even though breast cancer may not be relatable for everyone, at Mac we make it to where it’s a fun thing where everyone can enjoy the theme for a whole week,” Sanchez said. Caption by Madelynn Niles. Photo by Dave Winter.

A HAIR, RAISING EXPERIENCE: PALS Leah Gordon and Gisele Fuentes put pink tinsel in students’ hair during lunch. Hair tinseling was a lunch-time activity offered by the group to help fundraise for breast cancer awareness. “It was very tedious,” Gordon said, “I had never done hair tinsel before, so I had to learn beforehand. But it was rewarding to know that we were making money and that it was all going to a good cause.” Caption by Evie Barnard. Photo by Anna Bausman.

EXCHANGING GREEN FOR PINK: Senior Kennedy Weatherby purchases a pink mask from senior PAL Natalie Dean at the trinket table on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The trinket table offered a wide variety of pink paraphernalia to purchase: ribbons, ducks, bandannas, pins, tie dye kits, all to benefit the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin. Photo by Anna Bausman.

MAN DOWN: Students were given the opportunity to throw water balloons at the PALS during lunch on Wednesday, Oct. 7. This was one of the many fundraising events held to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Mohammed Almola was one of the PALS getting pummeled with water balloons. At one point, he was knocked to the ground. Caption by Cassidy Levin. Photo by Gaby Maydozian.

A PAL-LERY GALLERY: Today was hump day for Pink Week, but more importantly it was the day when much anticipated pink water balloons entered the Pink Week experience for the first time for every single PAL on the current roster. Wyatt Cunningham, James Fanning and Leah Gordon were among the PALS who faced the aqua-barrage on Wednesday and still swimsuited up for the sequel in the courtyard on Thursday. The trio agreed that being a target in the PAL-lery was both painful and joyous. “Since it was everyone’s first time being in the PAL-ery I think we were all super excited but at the same time nervous for all the people who could throw really well.,” Gordon told MacJournalism. The balloons were painful because many of them were thrown by varsity football players who, although not quarterbacks, can throw water balloons with significant velocity and occasional accuracy. “The ones that stung were the ones thrown by my teammates,” said Cunningham, a varsity cornerback who was hit in the head, the stomach, the back, and a fourth location that we will not specify. “I still have a mark on my back from one of them actually.” Like Cunningham, Fanning was frequently targeted. “At least,” he joked, “the baseball players didn’t come.” One might wonder why these PALS were among the select few who signed up to be pelted on both PAL-lery days. “I was not expecting it to be a war zone,” Cunningham said, “but I knew me being a target would get more people to come.” Gordon agreed. “Since it’s my first time in PALS I thought it would be a great way to get involved, and I also thought it might be super fun. From what I learned today, while it was super fun, it can also be quite chaotic.” Perhaps it was chaotic, but all three said it was great fun and lucrative. The PALS earned about $150 today alone for the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin. Photo by Dave Winter.

LITERALLY  BUYING INTO PINK WEEK: Junior PALS Noah Dainton and Leah Gordon and senior PAL Bobby Currie sell pink trinkets to raise money during Pink Week. These trinkets included candy, pink disposable masks, pink bandannas, pink pencils and pink lanyards. Prices varied per item, and all funds went toward Breast Cancer awareness. Dainton said he enjoyed the task. “I liked being able to interact with people I wouldn’t normally be able to interact with at the school while raising money for a good cause.” Caption by Evie Barnard. Photo by Dave Winter.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE: Senior Ceder Herring hurls a water balloon at their friends (and now victims) in PALS. Although they enjoyed all the fun activities throughout the week, the water balloon PAL-ery was their personal favorite. “Honestly, it’s such good stress relief,” Herring said. They also appreciated that all the money was going to a good cause: the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin. “Plus, it’s an excuse to wear pink every day for a week,” Herring added. Caption by Sofia Ramon. Photo by Dave Winter.

THE FULL WATERWORKS: For the fourth day of the Annual Pink Week on Thursday, the PALS were back for the PAL-ery event, in hopes to continue raising money for the Breast Cancer Resource Center. The PALS did their best to fend off the incoming balloons but in the end, they were drenched. “I think this was the right thing to do: to get people to be more involved,” said Jessie Lucas (center), one of the PALS who participated in the PAL-ery. “It was so fun, and I’m going to be sore tomorrow.” Caption by Chloe Lewcock. Photo by Dave Winter.

PAL-LERY ROUND TWO: Thursday marked the second day of the water balloon PAL-ery event for Pink Week. Junior Anderson Zoll and senior Gage Sanchez both think that the PAL-ery was one of the most exciting events that Pink Week had to offer. “Not only does it draw in crowds that wouldn’t normally participate in other fundraising activities,” Sanchez said. “It’s also so much fun for us PALS to play the game as well.” The fun and water-filled event is one that Anderson Zoll remembers most from his years from his Pink Weeks as an underclassmen. “The PAL-ery has been a Pink Week tradition for years,” he said. “And I was very excited to participate in it.” While he didn’t make himself a target today, yesterday he was one of the lucky PALS to end the event drenched from water balloons. Athletes, including Johan Holmes who is shown here admiring an accurate balloon throw, came out once again to pelt the PALS with water balloons, putting more than a drop in the bucket for the donation collection going towards breast cancer research. The PAL-ery raised over $400 on Thursday, more than doubling the amount from Wednesday. “I was going into it underestimating everyone’s aim,” Sanchez told MacJournalism. “And then one by one kids were throwing balloons and it got scarier and scarier as more and more water balloons were whizzing at our faces.” Caption by Lanie Sepehri and Francie Wilhelm. Photo by Dave Winter.

DON’T GET HIT: With the same leaping ability he brings to heading soccer balls near an opponents’ goal, McCallum PAL Silvio Guzman goes airborne to dodge a water-filled balloon during lunch on Thursday in front of a large crowd of fellow students. For $1, students could get three balloons to throw at the PALS. The atmosphere was festive in the courtyard, and all proceeds benefited the Breast Cancer Research Center of Austin. “It’s great that breast cancer is being discussed at McCallum,” said freshman Micah Brinton, who participated in some of the festivities in the courtyard this week. “It brings awareness to this type of cancer that many deal with every day. I hope that the awareness and fundraising continues past this week.” Photo by Nate Williams.

HELPING HANDS: Junior Leah Gordon, paints classmates’ nails during Pink Week. Every year McCallum PALS hosts a Pink Week to help raise money for breast cancer awareness. During this week they host many fun activities, like nail painting which left a mark on first year PAL, Leah Gordon. “Since it was my first time doing Pink Week I was super excited,” Gordon said. “I had such a fun time getting to know more people as I painted their nails and did their hair.” Photo and caption by Sophi Beardslee.

PINK AND PROUD: Linking pinkies and shouting loudly, junior Maya Cidale sings the school song with her fellow classmates. Cidale is a transfer student, so this was her first pep rally at Mac, and she loved the spirit of the event. “It was so cool to see everyone dressed in pink,” Cidale said. “It showed support for breast cancer research, but it was also kind of a unifying factor as a student body.” Cidale enjoyed the high energy atmosphere, despite the heat of the afternoon event. “It was really hot outside and everyone was so sweaty,” Cidale said. “But no one really cared because we were all having fun and the student leadership was so good about keeping us all engaged.” Caption by Alice Scott. Photo by Dave Winter.

IT’S RAINING SPIRIT: Laughter fills the senior section at the Pink Week pep rally after students shot off confetti poppers and silly string to show their spirit. Classes competed to win the spirit contest, each class yelling the victory chant louder than the last. Senior Caroline Allen went to the pep rally with her friends and thought that her classmates made a great showing in the contest. “I think we did quite well, despite lacking in attendance a bit as a class,” Allen said. “The people who were there definitely gave their all.” Though Allen thought the underclassmen could have upped their volume, she chalks it up simply to inexperience. “I think they definitely could’ve been louder, but I’ll cut them some slack since half of them had never been to a pep rally before,” Allen said. “I think with time they’ll start to get out of their shells after having been to more pep rallies and after the seniors show them how it’s done.” Caption by Samantha Powers. Photo by Dave Winter.

PIE PROVIDES A WINTER STORM: Moments before the impact of a shaving cream pie, MacJournalism adviser Dave Winter squeezes his eyes shut as senior PALS Elly Schottman and Anna McClellan wind up to strike. Schottman was excited that she was able to pie Winter and bring back a tradition that was missing last year. “Mr. Winter was the first teacher at Mac who made me feel really welcome, so I was happy to share this moment with him,” Schottman said. “Pieing teachers is a big PALS tradition, and we were unable to do it last year, so this was a very special event for us.” Photo and caption by Grace Nugent.

FUENTES VS. FUENTES: Senior Giselle Fuentes, along with fellow PAL senior Alexandro Artigas, pies her father, Spanish teacher and basketball coach Daniel Fuentes during the first-ever outdoor Pink Week pep rally on Friday. “It was really exciting when I found out we were pieing teachers at the pep rally,” Giselle said. “I knew I had to volunteer him knowing I would be the one to pie him.” Mr. Fuentes had previously thrown water balloons at his daughter during the shooting PAL-ery the day before. “I was able to get him back in front of the whole school,” Giselle said. “It was nice to have this experience with my dad my senior year.” Caption by Grace Nugent. Photo by Charlie Partheymuller.

A DASH OF OFFENSE. While the Knights lost to the Liberty Hill Panthers by a large margin, 45-16, sophomore kicker Dash Levy outscored the rest of his fellow teammates. Levy not only racked up 10 of Mac’s 16 points, he also made a career long 44-yard field goal. “It was nerve-racking at first going onto the field because it looked so far away,” Levy said. “I just ran up to it and hit it as hard as I could and right as I hit it I knew it was going in. It was very exciting and the response I got from the crowd and my teammates was amazing.” Levy had a perfect placekicking night and is looking forward to the rest of the season. Caption and photo by Grace Nugent.

While most McCallum students spent their Monday at home, the PALS spent their student holiday cleaning up the decorative remnants of Pink Week. While taking down the decorations, senior Wyatt Cunningham explained how he couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment over how this year’s Pink Week played out. “We raised a lot of money and it was really fun,” Cunningham said. “[Taking down the decorations] was like remembering how it felt.” Last year, the PALs did a scavenger hunt for Pink Week, but according to Cunningham, few students came. For Cunningham, this year’s record-breaking Pink Week represented a major shift. “[Last year] was probably the lowest donations we ever made, and to come back and set a record is pretty cool,” Cunningham said. Caption by Alysa Spiro. Photo by Dave Winter.

Junior Jolie Gabriel boxes up pink lights at school on the Monday student holiday after Pink Week. The lights, along with streamers and tissue paper lined the hallways of McCallum throughout pink week. Gabriel and her fellow PALs came on Monday to clean up these decorations along with any remaining mess. ”It was really nice to be able to come to an end to an amazing week together as a group,” Gabriel said. “It was a really nice last pink week related thing for us all to do together.” In total, throughout the week, the PALS raised more than $2,000, the highest total ever. The group surpassed $1,500 on Thursday and received two $100 donations, one from a teacher and one from a PAL, allowing them to break the $2,000 barrier. “Every day was better than ever,” said PALS instructor Mr. Cowles. Caption by Evie Barnard. Photo by Dave Winter.

KNIGHTS 3, REBELS 0: Tuesday night was a busy night for the varsity volleyball team. Not only did they host Middle School Night and members of the Lamar MS volleyball team, but they pinked out themselves and the gym to participate in Pink Week after not having a home game while the rest of the campus observed Pink Week. And oh yea, the game. Mac had a bit of a fight on its hands from the visiting Travis Rebels, but the Knights managed to sweep the visitors, 25-10, 25-16, 25-17. The most fun stat from the match in our humble opinion is that the Nabhan sisters combined for 15 aces. Senior Sydney Nabhan had seven of them, which means that her younger sister, junior Rachel, had eight. Caption by Dave Winter. Photo by Lukas Bednar.