MV Octagon kicks off Cure Cancer Cafe

The Octagon officer team’s process for selecting committee chairs


Stuti Upadhyay and Tabitha Mendez

Every year in mid-March, MV Octagon, MVHS’ largest volunteer club, hosts an event called Cure Cancer Cafe (CCC) to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). The event is held in the Quinlan Community Center from 6 to 9 p.m. and features singers, dancers, a speech from a cancer survivor, a photo booth, a silent auction, dinner served by waiters and more. Tickets are 20 dollars, and the dress code is semi-formal.

Although the event does not take place until March, the Octagon officer team starts preparing well in advance to make sure everything runs smoothly. According to sophomore and Octagon public relations officer Sammy Banerjee, officers have to start to plan and organize in November if they want everything to be prepared with enough time.

“We start so early because first we have to find [committee] chairs, then we have to start advertising and then we have to get donations at silent auction and [the whole process] takes a long time to set up,” Banerjee said.

The planning for CCC is split into five committees, each of which is led by at least one Octagon officer and has several chairs within the committee. The executive officers, presidents and vice presidents do not manage a committee but rather take a broader role in ensuring the whole process runs smoothly.

Junior Aditi Mukkar is in charge of decorations, sophomore Sammy Banerjee is in charge of public relations, sophomore Nick Hsieh and senior Tiffany Shen are in charge of the silent auction, senior Udirno Chaudhuri is in charge of acts and junior Rihanna Mohammed is in charge of  the waiters and catering.

“The presidents are just advising because they want to give us a chance to learn on our own so we can be prepared for next year,” Banerjee said.

In the last two weeks, Octagon officers held interviews at lunch to decide which applicants would be CCC chairs. The application was sent through the Octagon email list and was due on Nov. 30, while final decisions will be announced over the December break.

Senior Roann Acot, who applied for the decorating committee, believes being a CCC chair is great way to give to a good cause. She chose decorating committee specifically (out of watering and catering, public relations, decorations, auctions and acting) because she has experience planning decorations through her work for swimming senior night.

Officers Nick H. ( left ) , Rihana M. , and Aditi M. ( right ) take down notes as they interview a student for a CCC chair position.

“With the whole Cure Cancer Cafe event, I’ve lost a lot of people to cancer so it’s a special event to me and I would like to help out,” Acot said. “I just turned 18 and for my 18th birthday, I wanted to contribute to a cancer awareness society, but because it was last-minute, I wasn’t really able to and I thought this would be another way I could give back. “

Sophomore Christy Feng echoes a similar sentiment, adding that being a CCC chair would be a great way for her to support LLS and their cause while gaining valuable leadership skills.

“I lost my grandpa to cancer,” Feng said. “So it hits closer to home and I want to help out with what I can.”

Feng chose to apply for the public relations committee because of her experience as a marketing officer for DECA. Regardless of the committee, Banerjee explains that being a chair is an important duty and can set members up for future success in Octagon.

“Being a CCC chair, you’re going to experience a little more responsibility than just being an Octagon volunteer,” Banerjee said. “And you have to report to the person in charge of each section of CCC. If you are a chair, you are more likely to become an officer next year.”