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Orange in memoriam: Students remember lost teacher

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By Lane Vick
Special to the Chronicle

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At 2 p.m. Wednesday at Crystal River Middle School, students dressed in orange came together shaking their bracelet-clad wrists high in the air as chimes and little silver bells rang out in memory of Robert Littman, a beloved teacher who died early in January 2012. 

The “Orange you Glad it’s Almost Christmas?” event was planned and implemented by the School Activities Planning Club not only to commemorate Littman, but also to raise awareness about leukemia, the disease he so nobly fought.

Littman, as school technology teacher, was known as “the tech guy” to students and is fondly remembered. Students remember him for his humor and for making learning fun. His wife, Ellen Littman, and children were on hand for the bell-ringing memorial.

The School Activities Club plans to be a part of the Relay for Life and has raised $1,685 to date for its contribution. Members created bracelets of orange and white beads or cords with tiny bells that sold for a small price and raised $130 to be added to the Relay for Life fund.

The club has also sponsored the sale of pink ribbons for breast cancer and liquid whiteout sales for lung cancer, not only earning money for the cause but also raising awareness about the different forms of the disease. 

Sixteen club members (all girls) sponsor a monthly raffle, held an auction of pies and cakes, sold candygrams and benefited from yard sales. 

They are planning a Jan. 29 fashion show and, later, a spring carnival. The fashion show is open to all who want to model, and the theme “Decades of Hope” (the same theme as the Relay for Life) will feature students wearing clothing from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and today’s fashions. There will be a red carpet with cameras flashing for arriving “celebrities,” a pre-event mixer, and a post-show party with refreshments. Admission will be on a donation basis. The fashion show is 5 to 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. 

Abigail Hart, who teaches sixth-grade world history, eighth-grade American history, is ESE department head and Relay for Life chairwoman, leads the School Activities Planning Club. She has put together a 14-member Relay for Life Crystal River Middle School team. Hart is assisted by Kelly Filipic, a mathematics teacher.

Ashten Williamson, a seventh-grade student and club member, is excited about raising money for Relay for Life. Club members thought the bell-ringing memoriam a positive idea and a good way to commemorate Mr. Littman, recalling how much he meant to the school. Members like Grace Little enjoy planning events and creating an awareness of people’s needs. Eighth-grader Khiara Harvey explained that she “liked to be helpful” and to feel that she could make a difference.

Assistant principal Inge Frederick is especially proud of the students in the School Activities Planning Club. 

 “In a time when young people are often thought to be self-centered, the activities these kids do show how much they care about their community,” she said. “They aren’t thinking of themselves. They are thinking of others.”