Shelton principal goes pink for breast cancer awareness

SHELTON — John Coppola got quite the makeover Friday. 

The first-year Mohegan School principal painted his head pink — as he had promised — to celebrate his students raising more than $800 as part of Pink Week to support the Valley Goes Pink initiative. The goal, Coppola said, is to raise awareness about breast cancer. 

“The kids were all thrilled to see me with my pink head,” said Coppola, who had children cheering for him in the classrooms, hallways and cafetorium throughout the day. “It got a lot of laughs, but that is ok, this is all for an incredible cause.” 

Coppola said Pink Week events included pink bracelet day Monday, pink sock day Tuesday, pink accessory day Thursday and pink clothing day to wrap up the week’s events on Friday.

The week-long program is part of the Valley Goes Pink, an annual, grassroots, community-wide effort of fundraising events and programs to create awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection; support the Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital; and
showcase partnering organizations.

Students also spent Wednesday creating hundreds of pink cards with inspiring messages to be brought to patients at the Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness. 

"As a fundraiser, we sold pink bracelets all week,” Coppola said, with the final numbers topping $800. “I had more than enough bracelets made for all the students, and I sold out. The kids were really motivated. It was inspiring to see.” 

The event touched close to home for Coppola, whose mother, an educator herself, suffered from breast cancer. 

“This is near and dear to my heart,” Coppola said about the week’s events. 

He said the idea for the pink cards was with his mother in mind, adding that she would have appreciated a card with a “child’s touch” while she went through treatments. 

Coppola said he hopes the week’s events spark conversations at home about breast cancer awareness and prevention. 

“We’re more than just academics. This is real life learning,” Coppola said. “The children learn what it means to be kind, to look out for each other and for those in need.”