Kennedy High School was chosen as the winner of the Spring 2021 Community Service Challenge.
Kennedy was chosen as the winner by the NYSPHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which is comprised of two current student-athletes from each of the 11 member sections. This is the first time the school has won the award and just the third Section VIII team to win it.
Softball players Lara Indich and Samantha Levine created a fundraising campaign, Striking Out Cancer, to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“During the seven-week campaign Lara and Samantha held two clothing drives, four softball clinics, raffles, bingo nights and yoga classes to collect money and donations for LLS,” the NYSPHSAA press release stated. “The clothing drives resulted in over 18,000 pounds of clothes being donated with money gained by the pound for LLS.”
The Striking Out Cancer team started as just two but grew to 30 people all from the Bellmore-Merrick community. They were chosen out of 81 submitted projects in this challenge.
“The Striking Out Cancer program means a lot to me because I got to raise money to benefit cancer research and cancer patients through various fundraisers including softball clinics,” said Indich, program co-founder. “I wanted to give back because it means a lot to help other people and make an impact on the world for the better.”
“The Striking Out Cancer program was a great way to help those fighting cancer, while doing something that we love to do-play softball, among other things,” added Levine, program co-founder. “I wanted to give back because I've always been taught to help others and this is just one more way to do that. We are truly honored to have been chosen for this award.”
“While dealing with the pandemic brought on challenges that were dealt with differently by all, Sami and Lara chose to use their personal time to do something positive for the community,” said Eric Caballero, director of physical education and athletics. “These student-athletes were keenly aware of a need to raise awareness and funds for an incredible program. The Kennedy High School community is extremely proud of their maturity, perseverance and incredible dedication to helping others.”