Lakelands Park Middle School students and staff participated in a walk on May 25 to celebrate Memorial Day and the contributions of former teacher Matthew Bittner. Bittner passed away in December after a two-year battle with liver cancer.
While initial thoughts were focused on a walk in Bittner’s memory, the activity evolved during the planning process.
“We are also looking at ways to promote all of us being healthier so we wanted the entire school to get out and walk,” said LPMS Principal Deborah Higdon. “We decided to combine it into a walk to celebrate Matt’s contributions to [LPMS] and to celebrate Memorial Day.”
Bittner’s family also participated in the walk, which took place on the Lakelands Park fields adjacent to the school.
While the walk was not a fundraiser, many donations were made in Bittner’s name to the Cancer Centers of America and the Cholangiocarcinoma Research Center at Georgetown University Hospitals while he was alive, said Higdon.
“Matt’s friends and our students continued to donate all year,” she said. “We won’t have a final amount that people donated until we close the books for the school year.”
The school is also planning to name the gym after Bittner pending approval from the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education.
On June 6, Bittner’s family is holding an event to celebrate his life at 2 p.m. at Northwest High School. The celebration event is open to the community.