GOSHEN – As families spent the days before Christmas buying gifts for their loved ones, students at John S. Burke Catholic High School channeled the spirit of giving to help struggling Americans in hurricane-ravaged areas far away.
Seniors at the Catholic high school organized the “Hoops for Hurricanes” basketball tournament in mid-December to raise money for families impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which devastated large swathes of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last year.
Senior Sydney Lombardi developed the idea of the basketball fundraiser and organized it with the help of the Key Club and the National Honor Society. Eight teams comprised of six to seven underclassmen competed against each other. Seniors of the varsity basketball team captained each squad.
“The whole night was made possible by the students,” said Lombardi. “They volunteered to do everything. We had student referees, bracket trackers, concession-stand workers, players, captains, and even a DJ. The Key Club and NHS helped me to advertise, and volunteered to do a lot of the work on the actual night.”
With team and admission fees, a donation from the Rotary Club of Goshen, and the sale of custom silicon bracelets and food, “Hoops for Hurricanes” raised $875.
Half of the money raised will go to the family of Burke Catholic Spanish teacher, Jennifer Rodriguez, whose family lives in Puerto Rico and lost everything during Hurricane Maria. The other half will go to a victim relief organization.
“The situation in Puerto Rico is the worst we have ever seen. People still don’t have power, and they didn’t have running water until recently,” said Rodriguez. “The donation is Godsent.”