Students and staff at Sachem High School North created an unforgettable experience for a 9-year-old pediatric cancer patient named Tenzin through a “bridging rooms project.” The project was brought to Sachem North by James Orrigo, a motivational entertainer who partners with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund to create memorable, music-centered experiences for pediatric patients.
Orrigo works with kids throughout the country who are battling pediatric cancer and helps them write a silly song and create their own cartoon music video. He then brings the cartoon music videos to life with the help of schools across the U.S.
“We do incredible, unforgettable projects like this where we get to bring an entire school and community together to show a pediatric patient who has been impacted by pediatric cancer how much he is loved and how much he is cared about,” Orrigo said.
Orrigo approached Sachem North to bring Tenzin’s music video to life. Tenzin created a song about a store he runs out of his own hospital room called “Junk and Stuf” where he sells goodies including lemonade and cosmic brownies. Several departments collaborated to bridge Tenzin’s hospital room to the classroom. The music department scored the song Tenzin and Orrigo created, and the art department created props to turn the building’s little theater into a real-life “Junk and Stuf” store. Additionally, the school held a bake sale to raise funds for Tenzin and his family.
“From my colleagues to every single department we have here in Sachem, everyone came together to make a little boy feel special,” Christy Zummo, High School North teacher and event organizer said. “In one day, in a few hours, they brought it all. It’s a very proud teacher moment.”
Tenzin arrived at Sachem North on Oct. 26 to film his music video and see his store in-person. He received a warm welcome as the student body lined the main entrance to greet him and cheer him on. Throughout the day, he interacted with Sachem North students who were more than excited to make Tenzin’s day one he will never forget.
“I think that’s what kids need. They need an opportunity to show empathy, be engaged and be involved and they don’t always get those opportunities. But when they do, they show up,” Mrs. Zummo said.
Tenzin’s visit wrapped up with one last surprise – a video message from the cast of his favorite show, “Flash.”
“Sachem North went all out!” Orrigo said. “I am incredibly grateful.”
Click here to watch a video recap.
Click here to view the photo slideshow.