The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


Heroes of Charter: Athena and Coralie, and what relaying really means

Iris Lee

A hero can be defined by a variety of things. For some, the first thing to come to mind may be Spiderman or Batman. However, those listed are only fragments of imagination and not reality. In real life, a hero is someone who touches the lives of others through the goodness of their heart, with pure intentions of making someone’s day just a little bit better through any way they can. Here at Charter, it is hard to pick from the quantity of students that have aided to a change in some way shape or form. However, seniors Coralie Richardson and Athena Gijo have brought their own twist on a hero. These two students have gone above and beyond in their work for Relay for Life and in fundraising while also shining a light on cancer and the reality that comes along with it. 

Relay for Life is the high esteemed club right here in the heart of Charter that has brought a different perspective to students on the life they have. However, this year has been one for the history books. After 100+ members that have joined and applied their heart and soul into this club, they are already at $8,000 in a 5 month time span. While this major accomplishment brings already massive applause, the Relay for Life chapter here at Pines Charter is ranked #1 in our region. The goal of the club isn’t only limited to fundraising for the American Cancer Society, but also to share their voice with survivors and patients going through the harsh reality of what it’s like to be diagnosed with cancer. 

Long time members, Coralie and Athena, are amongst the many that have contributed to this high and intense level of success. With this, going into their final year of high school, the time has come for the two of them to share their leadership and significantly shine a light on themselves and what they stand for. Even in such a short amount of time, the two girls have done that and more. 

However, their backstory on their fundraising success and dedication to the club comes with many different layers. For Coralie and Athena, they both joined with similar inspiration and motives on contributing to the cause and advocating for the lives touched by cancer. “For me, I joined relay because I wanted to start making an impact and change, but also because when I was young, my uncle passed away from cancer. But recently, my cousin, who is the same age as me, was diagnosed with lymphoma and my world turned upside down,” comments Richardson on the significance of the cause on her personal life as well. “I watched her going through chemotherapy and vowed that I will keep on spreading awareness and acting as a voice for those who can’t speak up.” For Coralie, there was no hesitation on how much of herself she would devote herself to this club. There was only the promise and love for her and her family that would drive her and what she stands for. 

When Athena joined sophomore year, Relay for Life was initially only seen as an opportunity for her to add onto her college application. However, for her, this was soon to be turned into a life-long dedication. Similarly to Coralie’s motivation, Athena was driven by the sustaining image of her grandfather and the magnitude of love she has for him. After her grandfather got diagnosed with lung cancer, her eyes were opened to the meaning of life, but as well as the pricey cost of it. As said by Gijo, her grandfather had the amazing opportunity of being included in a trial for immunotherapy. “The results were amazing but the trial couldn’t last forever. Eventually we had to start paying out of pocket and the size of the price tag was unimaginable.” The possibilities and thoughts that rang through Athena’s mind introduced her to the idea that this was what millions of other people with the same diagnosis are going through as well. “In relay every member is required to raise a minimum of 100 dollars to continue to be a part of relay for life. After seeing the price tag myself, I know what my real goal looks like.” With this, a switch flipped in Gijo’s mind. What Relay for Life meant to her once had now had a completely different meaning to it. 

With Coralie being sponsor lead and Athena being survivor lead, they both help in carrying the responsibility of keeping the soul of Relay for Life alive and forever running. Between the two and for what they can vouch for the rest of the club, there is an everlasting feeling of happiness radiating in the club. “We are insanely proud of our team members for raising this amount of money so far. I truly believe we may be able to surpass our initial goal. In this short time we raised 7,000 dollars and are continuously raising more money,” says Coralie. Coralie expresses an immense amount of pride and gratitude that  her and Athena share towards the club and its members for putting themselves to the challenge. However, it is their impact that they pride themselves on, making sure it lasts. 

As the two girls think towards their future, it is clear that Relay for Life will always be included in their plans. Gijo confidently comments that she will always stand tall side by side with the organization. “Regardless of which college I end up attending next year , I’ll never abandon Relay. Fortunately for me, almost every university in Florida already holds a RFL team, which I most definitely plan on joining as a freshman. I have so many ideas to help fundraise and I’m very eager to execute every single one of them.” As for Coralie, she shares it is equally as important that not only do people raise the money in order to impact the meaningful lives of others, but to advocate for others.

“Relay is so much more than raising money and that is why I relay.” As said by Coralie, to ‘relay’ means so much to so many different people. It can mean to lend a hand in times of need or simply more than that. But, to Coralie and Athena, to ‘relay’ is a meaningful lifestyle that they’ll carry along with them and their successes. 

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About the Contributors
Julianna Perez, Clubs Editor
Hi! My name is Julianna Perez and I'm currently the Clubs Editor for the CHAT Newspaper. I'm a sophomore and this is my second year in the newspaper. I love to write and pursuing journalism is my dream, so I can't wait to continue writing again this year! Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have feedback or questions :)
Iris Lee, Features Editor
Hi, I’m Iris! This is my fourth year writing for The CHAT, and I’m this year’s Features Editor. Previously I was the Student Life Editor, and I love writing stories about campus news and our students, so I’m super excited for this year! I have two dogs, and I like to play the piano. Feel free to contact me anytime at [email protected]!

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