Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 23, 2014

Acts of kindness add warmth in dead of winter

Out of the cold, harsh days of winter grew several acts of kindness and support in Andover in the last week. And what was most heartwarming to see is they crossed diverse sectors.

Last Friday, Andover High School students showered one of the most under-appreciated groups of employees with some well-earned gratitude. The students surprised the cafeteria and nutrition services workers by making them kings and queens for the day — complete with their own handmade crowns.

The tribute grew out of a journalism class assignment in which students were tasked with devising a public relations campaign for a school organization or program whose work often goes unrecognized. Senior Alexa Rockwell didn’t give it a second thought when she and classmate Eliana Kafantis decided to throw their energies behind the nutrition staff by organizing a Cafeteria Workers Appreciation Day.

What was probably the best aspect of the day was the notes of thanks penned by students to the lunchroom staff. One male student perhaps spoke for many when he wrote, “I’m sorry for heckling you all the time. It’s out of love. Thank you.”

On Friday, the heckling ceased, for one day anyway. But we have a feeling there might be a little less of it occurring in the days to come. And for that, Alexa and Eliana deserve an “A” for their assignment.

The community of greater Andover also came out to show their support for an Andover grandmother, Tina Habeeb, whose 44-year-old daughter — the mother of three young children — is in a battle for her life. Cathy Habeeb Sheehan was diagnosed last year with acute myeloid leukemia. She’s in need of a stem cell transplant to survive. There currently is no match in the national registry for Sheehan.

So, Habeeb did what all mothers would do. She pulled together a “Be The Match” bone marrow and stem cell drive at Latitude Sports Club in Methuen. Similar drives typical draw 70 people. More than 100 people showed up for this one, with individuals having to be turned away because organizers couldn’t accommodate them all in the two-hour allotted time period.

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