- Eric Schwartzberg Staff Writer
Fairfield City Schools leaders are using the annual cancer awareness program “No Shave November” to raise money for playground equipment selected by a first-grader who recently died after a battle with cancer.
That equipment was chosen by Walter Herbert, who went by the nickname of “Superbubz” — and for many embodied a superhero’s courage. Walter died Oct. 6 at his home.
“No Shave November” is a web-based, non-profit organization devoted to growing cancer awareness and raising funds to support cancer prevention, research, and education. During the month-long journey, participants forgo shaving and grow beards or mustaches.
Walter selected the equipment for Fairfield Central Elementary School before his death.
Banding together to raise $200 to purchase some of that equipment were Superintendent Billy Smith, Assistant Superintendent Roger Martin, Crossroads Middle Principal David Maine, South Elementary Principal Jason Hussel and South Elementary Assistant Principal Scott Kuehner; and Freshman School Principal Michael Berkemeier.
“As educators we are frequently involved in fundraising for great causes,” Martin said. “This was a fun way to raise money to benefit current and future Central Elementary students in the name of one of their own who is dearly missed. It allows us to create something positive and good out of a tragedy.
Superintendent Billy Smith said Fairfield High School is organizing its own fundraiser/competition and that other administrators across the district participated in “No Shave November” to raise money to build a playground in honor of “Superbubz.”
“Superbubz was so special to so many people in his school and our entire community,” Smith said. “He fought cancer like a true superhero. His smile, charm, and positive attitude was an inspiration to our entire community.”
Fundraising efforts by Walter’s family are aiming for a larger amount, according to a message posted by Walter’s mother, Emily Herbert, on the “Fight with Superbubz” Facebook page.
“When Superbubz was well enough to attend school he would spend a lot of time in the principals office (willingly!),” Herbert wrote. “He was one of the first kids to test out the new playground over summer break! His principal would ask him about his day and how he liked the new school. He would reply about the playground. He said it was fun but it could use some swings and teeter totters! With time and thought the principal, Karrie Gallo, is willing and ready to put those plans into motion for him!”
Herbert said the total cost for installation and parts is $15,000.