LATHAM, NY- The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) is proud to announce the Canandaigua Academy Girls Volleyball Team (Section V) and the Eastport- South Manor Boys Volleyball Team (Section XI) as the winners of the Fall 2018 NYSPHSAA Community Service Challenge. Both teams were chosen by the NYSPHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) comprised of two current student-athletes from each of NYSPHSAA’s 11 member sections.
Established in the Fall of 2010, the program encourages students to get involved in their community. This year, NYSPHSAA has partnered with Team Up for Community to allow submissions using an online portal. The Team Up for Community portal provides schools the opportunity to showcase community service projects which ultimately fosters young peoples’ sense of civic engagement and community thus helping them achieve their educational, developmental and social goals. This is the first year NYSPHSAA will be honoring Community Service Challenge Champions after each sport season. In previous years, just one champion statewide was chosen at the end of the school year. This fall, 106 projects were submitted by NYSPHSAA member schools with a total of 4,844 student-athletes involved in the projects equaling over 60,000 hours volunteered.
The Canandaigua Academy Girls Volleyball team created sensory blankets for individuals in their local VA Hospital. Multiple steps were taken to plan and execute the project. First, the team spent weeks fundraising to buy supplies to create the blankets. Then, they devoted their time to cut, sew, pin and craft 68 blankets.
“We are extremely proud of the work our girls volleyball program did on behalf of our veterans at our local VA hospital,” said Jim Simmons, Canandaigua Academy Athletic Director. “Athletic programs are very fortunate to receive so much support from our community. When teams
take the opportunity to give back it is a reflection of their gratitude.”
According to Daina Marsh, Canandaigua Girls Volleyball Head Coach, the girls were dedicated to the project from start to finish. “We are so proud of our girls and their dedication to this project. It was such a humbling experience. Words could never fully express how thankful we are every day for the sacrifices our Veterans have made for our freedoms.”
“Volunteering for the VA was a great opportunity,” said Katie Stegall, Canandaigua senior Captain. “Getting to make the blankets was a perfect way for our team to bond and help the Veterans. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help give back to the people who have sacrificed so much for our country.”
The Eastport-South Manor (ESM) Boys Volleyball team participated in a Student Build project for the Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk. Habitat of Suffolk builds affordable single-family housing throughout Suffolk County. First, the team spent countless hours raising $1,400 to purchase materials necessary to build a home. Then, the student-athletes volunteered their time unloading and hanging sheetrock, building a form for a patio, mixing and pouring cement, and installing insulation.
According to Bill Kropp, ESM Boys Volleyball Head Coach, community service has been a tradition for the program. “I couldn’t be more proud of my boys and how they stepped up to continue the team’s tradition of helping others. With every effort to assist those in need, I saw their growth in becoming outstanding leaders in the community as well as on the court.”
“As a team, we love looking for opportunities to grow our team bond,” said ESM senior Justin Riccardelli. “Habitat for Humanity was the absolute perfect fit because we worked together as a team learning skills none of us knew. At the same time, we are supporting and giving back to our local community.”
William Madsen, Eastport-South Manor Athletic Director, has seen this team grow together for a decade and was not surprised of their commitment and success with the project.
“I’ve had the pleasure of watching this program grow and compete at a high level for ten years,” said Madsen. “I’ve not only enjoyed watching their championships, but’s it’s the way these boys have carried themselves on and off the court that I’m most proud of. They’ve done community projects for years with not a thought about receiving the recognition that the NYSPHSAA has bestowed upon us this year.”
Applications for the winter Community Service Challenge are now being accepted and can be
submitted by visiting http://nysphsaa.org/Educational-Programs/Community-Service. Deadline is March 4, 2019. For questions, please contact NYSPHSAA Assistant Director, Kristen Jadin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518.690.0771.
Previous Community Service Challenge State Champions: 2018 – Farmingdale High School (Section VIII) 2017 – Akron High School (Section VI) 2016 – Mahopac High School (Section I) 2015 – Kings Park High School (Section XI) 2014 – Arlington High school (Section I) 2013 – Columbia High School (Section 2) 2012 – Ossining High School (Section I) 2011 – Adirondack Central School (Section III)
About NYSPHSAA (Twitter: @NYSPHSAA | Facebook: NYSPHSAA | YouTube: NYSPHSAASports): The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc. is a non-profit, voluntary, educational service organization composed of public, parochial, and private schools dedicated to providing equitable and safe competition for the students of its member schools. The organization conducts 32 championship events and governs the rules and regulations of high school athletics in New York State. Membership is open to secondary schools providing interschool athletic activities for boys and girls in grades 7-12.