By Rose O’Connor | Correspondent
The community of Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, recently put their basketball skills to use during the school’s first “Hoops for Hope” charity tournament, the proceeds of which will go to aid residents of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean island of Dominica who were impacted by Hurricane Maria.
To view more photos from Hoops for Hope, click here.
Organized by the SHADES Club under faculty moderator Eileen Marx, the event consisted of Notre Dame students, faculty and staff participating in a bracket-style tournament of 41 teams of five to seven players. Each team chose a level of play – competitive, intermediate and “just for fun.”
“The students all came together and really took ownership of this whole event,” Marx said of the tournament, which was held Nov. 15 at the school.
“The basketball tournament was their idea and it was just a great way to integrate the different clubs and activities in the school and help support an important cause.”
The club, which celebrates the multicultural diversity of the students at Notre Dame High School, collected donations and items such as of toothbrushes, flashlights, batteries and other necessities to be sent to those who were impacted by Hurricane Maria.
The cause was near and dear to several of those in the school, including Desiree Leigh, Spanish teacher and world language department chair.
“They still need help so desperately,” she said of those impacted by the storm.
“I think this is an amazing effort from SHADES. They want to make a difference in Puerto Rico,” Leigh added after taking part in the tournament. “This is a wonderful activity; and I made a basket, which is a miracle!” she joked.
In addition to helping those in Puerto Rico, many of the donations collected will be sent to Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean that was also devastated by the Category 5 hurricane that made landfall in September.
Junior Kami Olaleye was one who suggested that some of the proceeds from the tournament be sent to the island nation, where some of her family resides.
“The whole country is devastated,” she said, explaining that her aunt has been able to visit family in Dominica and through social media and online crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, Olaleye has been able to communicate with her family and send money.
She said she is grateful to her school community for helping those in need.
“It makes me happy that this many people care about things that do not directly affect them,” she said, as she checked teams in and collected household items as a member of the SHADES club.
Sophomore Cortaz Williams, SHADES Club member and running back on the Notre Dame Varsity football team, designed and drew the logo for the event, which was printed on T-shirts given to each participant.
Alumna AnnMarie Crivelli, Class of 1980, donated 300 T-shirts for the event.
Junior Jaylin Queen, a SHADES club member, also worked with her mother to design and print the tickets for the event.
“This turned out really well,” she said of her club’s endeavors. “We didn’t think we’d have this many people here!”
Between his basketball games, 11th-grade student Shomari Hollis reflected on the impact of the tournament, not only for those affected by Hurricane Maria but for the Notre Dame school community as well.
“This turned out really great; everyone supporting this cause to help others,” he said. “At a time when the county is so divided; it’s great to see everyone come together.”