Members of the Everett community, along with educators, students, and athletes, joined together Saturday to show their support to Everett High student Sarai Velez, who is battling cancer.
The group gathered at the Madeline English School and traveled to Sarai’s residence, where friends waved to Sarai during a lengthy procession of vehicles.
Velez is a popular junior and talented student-athlete who participates in field hockey, basketball, and softball.
“Field hockey is her love, though, it’s her true passion and she hopes to play in college,” said Everett High Athletic Director Tammy Turner. “She’s also a member of the Student Athlete Leaders (SAL) group.”
The idea for a parade originated with Sarai’s friends, seniors Kaleigh Snook and Alexa Stevens, after asking Tammy Turner what they could do to lift Sarai Velez’s spirits during her health battle.
Snook, one of Sarai’s field hockey teammates, said Sarai is a “great person” who is admired and respected by all of her friends and classmates.
“Sarai is very outgoing and real friendly,” said Stevens. “She’s always there for you no matter what. When this happened, we wanted to show her that we’re all here for her. She is not alone and she can still be who she is, even with everything.”
Everett High algebra teacher Bill Bertocchi traveled from Brockton to be a part of the parade. Sarai is one of his students this academic year.
“Sarai is a great kid who tries hard,” said Bertocchi. “Stay strong, kid – that’s what I want you to do. We’re with you.”
Erick Naumann, principal at Everett High School, brought his family to the parade.
“It’s wonderful to see the community and the teachers and the students come together to help another student,” said Naumann.
Cory McCarthy, vice principal, said, “This parade is a true representation of Everett Pride – this is exactly what the Everett community is all about.”
Ish Zamor, one of the state’s most outstanding high school football players, expressed his support to Sarai. “This is what Everett’s about, we’re a community – and nobody fights alone, we fight together,” said Zamor. “We come together for each other and ‘Roll Tide’.’’
Outside her residence, Sarai Velez smiled as friends, classmates, and teachers greeted her from their vehicles. Others stopped and approached Velez with gifts of support.
“I’d like to thank everyone for supporting me,” said Sarai. “I appreciate everyone and all their kindness through my journey.”