Students form dragon boat team for teacher with cancer

We’re about a month away from this year’s Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival and teams are starting to take to the water to train for the event.

The boat races help raise money for breast cancer survivors through the Center for Breast Care at Mayo Clinic Health System while also providing support for those who are affected by the disease.

One team that’s competing this year is made up of students from West Salem Middle School who are racing in honor of art teacher Krista Beron who has breast cancer.

The team leader, Erika Olson, who is a teacher at the middle school says there was no shortage of volunteers for the team.

“A parent called me to see if I’d be interested in getting a team together so I kind of started asking around if anyone would be interested and we had an outpouring of support of kids who wanted to be a part of this team for Miss Beron.”

21 students from West Salem make up the team.

They say they were a little nervous to get in the boat today but wanted to do something to support one of their favorite teachers at the middle school.

“It feels really great knowing I’m supporting her and trying to help her as much as I can through this process. It’s a great feeling knowing that people are making shirts, people are supporting her in every way they can and just trying to make it the easiest experience it can be for her,” says 8th grade teacher Maddy Wopat.

This year’s Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival will be held July 15th and 16th on the Black River at Copeland Park in La Crosse.