A team of Wantagh High School students was recognized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as the 2021 Long Island Students of the Year. Team leader Ashley Reisert revealed that the group raised $110,511 to support the fight against cancer during a seven week period, raising more funds than 23 participating high school teams across Long Island.
Each year, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society holds a competition called Students of the Year, a philanthropic leadership development program providing students with the opportunity to foster professional skills such as marketing, project management and entrepreneurship while raising vital funding for LLS, the world’s largest blood cancer nonprofit. Members of a community’s chapter nominate students to form teams and to devise a plan for fundraising.
Team leaders Ashley Reisert from Wantagh High School, Nicholas Bifone of Chaminade Academy and Haley Leimbach from Sacred Heart teamed with Wantagh High School students Madison Boyle, Joey Labo, Haley Lerch, Skyla Marchesi, Grace Massari, Olivia Pugliese and Kaitlyn Rochel to form Team Warriors for a Cure. The team organized Zoom lessons in which community volunteers taught dancing, cooking, cardio and yoga. There were also raffles, fundraisers with local businesses, merchandise sales in collaboration with the Tri-M Music Honor Society and Key Club, cookie dough sales and a Penny Wars competition to see who could collect the most pennies. The students also asked for personal donations throughout their fundraising efforts.
“Although LLS is known for funding groundbreaking cures for adults suffering from leukemia and lymphoma, we are happy that the money we raised will be going toward child initiatives,” Ashley said.
Principal Dr. Paul Guzzone said he is extremely proud of the students who dedicated their time and efforts towards benefitting such an important cause. “You couldn’t have a better group of students,” he said. “These young people are changing the world.”
Photo caption: Team Warriors for a Cure were named the 2021 Students of the Year by the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society for their fundraising efforts and are seated (front, l-r) Wantagh High School students Kaitlyn Rochel, Olivia Pugliese, team leader Ashley Reisert, Madison Boyle, (Back, l-r) Grace Massari, Haley Lerch, Joey Labo and Skyla Marchesi.