Thanks to the $480 raised in Helping Heroes’ volleyball tournament last month, the club is one step closer to finishing the veteran’s memorial—a plaque that will hang at school in a place to be determined to honor the 40 alumni/ae who served and died in combat.
Under the guidance of Club President Carly Newell ’18, Helping Heroes is comprised of around 20 students, who meet every other week to write thank-you letters to veterans and current servicemen and women. The club also organizes drives to collect donations for troops overseas.
Carly said she first learned about the veteran memorial project from English Teacher Rob Leith, who advised Peter White ’02 on a similar project in 2002. Peter’s sister, Lindsay White ’05, carried on the project after he graduated and helped the school raise $500 for the memorial. However, the school reallocated the money to general funds after it was not immediately used, so the project lost its momentum, Carly said.
After acquiring the list of alumni/ae killed in combat, the club decided to host a fundraising volleyball tournament at the Nicholas Athletic Center on October 12.
The club raised money through donations and the event’s $10-per-person entrance fee, and eight teams of six players—including faculty and students of all grades—competed in an immediate-elimination-style tournament. In each set, the first team to earn 11 points moved on to the next round and faced another team.
Emma Harden ’20, who played on a team with Charlotte Shapiro, Rowan Park, Liam McGourty (all ’20), Lauren Yun, and Sarah Leder (both ’19), said she decided to participate after Rowan asked her.
“[The tournament] ended up being lot of fun, and it was for a good cause,” she said. “So everybody wins!”
The actual winning team, composed of coaches and athletic department staff, beat Katie McKinley, Emily McKinley, Lauren Bernier, Rob Brower, Ben Ross, and Isaac Glotzer Martin (all ’18) 11 points to 5 in the final round and received a trophy for their achievement.
Varsity Football Coach Mike Willey, who played for the winning side, said his group joined the tournament to support a great cause and had a fun time playing.
“Our team chemistry was unbelievable,” Mr. Willey added. “We worked really hard for the championship. We practiced four or five times in the previous week, so it was great. We just came ready to play on the day.”
Mr. Leith said he was pleased with the results of the fundraiser.
“I’ve always felt bad that [the memorial project] didn’t happen and hoped it would eventually occur,” he said. “I am quite confident that it will come to fruition, and the administration is solidly behind it.”
The club plans to continue fundraising throughout the year to attain the roughly $3,000 needed to pay for the plaque and the fresh flowers that will surround it, Carly said.
“I want to keep the community involved in the project because I don’t want it to be forgotten,” she said. “It is important that veterans know that we are grateful for their service and all they have done for our safety.”