Number of Participants: 30
Hours Donated: 4
Value of Time Served: $1,014
Event Type: Civic & Community
Date: May 30, 2019
Samoset Middle School
School Street, Ronkonkoma
by Mary Naer with Photos by Nick Kreamer
On Wednesday, April 17, Samoset held the Dezy Strong Volleyball Classic in honor and support of Sachem’s own Matt Di Stefano, a Special Education teacher at Sachem North. Matt was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer. He is fighting hard to beat this terrible disease and we at Samoset are behind him 100%. We wanted to do our small part to offer support for Matt and his family during this stressful time. Matt’s wife, Jenn also teaches at North in the Physical Education department.
Brian Schnall and Matt Golini, with the help of the Samoset Phys Ed staff, ran the event after a suggestion from some students on the Samoset girls’ volleyball team! Our Phys Ed staff started selling Dezy Strong T-shirts and bracelets in late March. Many Samoset faculty members donned their baby blue Dezy Strong T -shirts every Thursday leading up to the event and will continue wearing them on Thursdays to show support for Matt.
This effort snowballed into collecting donations from generous faculty and students to be used as raffle prizes. The students bought bracelets and raffle tickets in the days prior to the volleyball classic. The prizes included gift cards to Applebee’s, Chili’s, Joe’s Pizza, Albert’s Pizza, Andiamo’s, Irish Times Pub, Gino’s, Hummus, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Cheesecake Factory!
There was also an autographed picture of NY Knicks Mario Hezonja, a Vera Bradley bag and a SimPlay gift card among other prizes. A total of $707 was raised from bracelet and raffle ticket sales with all proceeds going directly to the Di Stefano family.
The Samoset girls volleyball team, the Samoset boys volleyball team and an all-star Samoset faculty team took part in the classic! Faculty participants played against the student teams and they held their own against these formidable opponents. Samoset Admin, Teachers, TA’s and even retired Samoset faculty participated as players, scorekeepers, coaches and officials. Our own Chris Hanley (Elite Sounds) donated his DJ talents to emcee the event. Jimmy Byrne and Alison Angermaier kept score and Gene Higgins officiated along with Kristen Fieger. Thanks to all staff who supported this cause by buying T-shirts, bracelets and by donating raffle prizes! Thank you to the local businesses who donated prizes as well.
We want the Di Stefano family to know that their Samoset family is with them every step of the way! We are all Sachem United and we are Dezy Strong!