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Team Marco

posted Apr 17, 2015, 4:37 PM by Adrian Monteon   [ updated May 20, 2015, 5:49 PM ]

Firebaugh Community Begins Goodwill Campaign to Raise Donations for 13-Year Old Student with Cancer
Over 500 Students and Teachers at Firebaugh Middle School Unite to Raise Spirits, Funds for Student with Leukemia Through Lip Dub, T-shirts, Donations; $2200 Raised To-Date

FIREBAUGH, Calif. – April 16, 2015 – Firebaugh Middle School, one of five schools in Firebaugh-Las Deltas Joint Unified School District, today launched a good-will campaign in efforts to raise donations for seventh-grade student suffering from Leukemia, Marco Arias. The entire Firebaugh Middle School (FMS) team, comprised of over 500 students and teachers, sacrificed their fifth period on Thursday, March 26, to film a school-wide lip dup in efforts to raise the spirits of Arias. The FMS team has also been selling TEAM MARCO t-shirts for donations and will be setting up a GoFundMe account to ease the financial burden of the Arias family. 

Marco Arias was diagnosed with Leukemia in November of 2014, the same week of his thirteenth birthday. Prior to diagnosis, Marco and his family led a quiet life in Firebaugh, California, a small farming community with a population of about 7,500. Marco’s father works in the fields of Firebaugh and is the sole provider for the family, including Marco, his two sisters and older brother. 

Marco is currently receiving chemotherapy treatments at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, CA, about 35 miles east of Firebaugh. With the dire effects of chemotherapy, Marco spends every other week in the hospital. The treatments, time, and distance have taken both an emotional and financial toll on Marco and his family. 

“Marco’s unfortunate journey with cancer has been incredibly heartbreaking to our entire community,” said Marcus Sosa, principal, Firebaugh Middle School. “But we are determined to fight this battle together and will continue taking any measure possible to assist the Arias family in this time of need. We are only at the beginning of this campaign to bring Marco back to FMS and look forward to seeing his smiling face again.” 

The Firebaugh students and faculty will be debuted the FMS TEAM MARCO lip-dub to Marco, his family and the entire FMS community on Friday, April 17 at a rally held at the Firebaugh Middle School gym. TEAM MARCO t-shirts are being sold for $10, in which 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Arias family to ease medical and travel expenses. Over $4,120 has been raised to-date, but the FMS team hopes to encourage the greater community at large to raise additional funds for this family in-need.

About Firebaugh Middle School
Firebaugh Las Deltas Unified School District is a small rural district serving approximately 2,200 K-12 grade student and about 72 preschool students. The community of Firebaugh is about 40 miles northwest of Fresno and is very dependent on agriculture and agri-related businesses. Firebaugh Middle School serves students grades six through eighth grade with about 505 students. The After School Program runs Monday through Friday and serves 100 students offering a homework center, enrichment activities, field-trips, assemblies and social activities The school has twenty-four full-time certificated teachers; one 4/7 certificated staff; 4 five hour certificated tutors that assist with intervention. The school has a library with 30 desktop computers where students access Accelerated Reader, a computer lab, and fifteen portable computer labs with 480 laptops available for all content areas. The campus has wireless access. The community is comprised of a variety of ethnicities: 95% Hispanic, 4.8% White, .02% Asian. 

Firebaugh Middle School has: 
  • 33% English learners (predominately Spanish speaking) 
  • 98% of the students qualifying for free or reduced lunches 
  • 10% mobility rate 
  • migrant population of 45% 
  • 67% of the parents who do not have a high school diploma
  • 8% of parents have some college. 

The fact that 8% of parents have some college is a significant challenge for this school because this percentage is 47% lower than the state average. Firebaugh Middle School operates under a School Wide Plan. The programs at the school include a core program of ELA, Math, Science, Social Science, P.E. Special Education, an English Learner program, Migrant services and Speech and Language services. The school staff are implementing Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI) in ELA and Math to ensure that all students access support that is needed for them to succeed academically. The Staff meets on a weekly basis during PLC time to review student achievement data informing instruction.

Media Contact:
Marcus Sosa
Principal – Firebaugh Middle School