EAST GRRENBUSH, N.Y. – The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced Columbia High School the 2012-2013 Section II winner of its Community Service Challenge program Monday.
"Our student-athletes did a great job with all of our community service projects," said Michael Leonard, Columbia High School Athletic Director. "The students were great to work with and took a lot of pride in the projects. I feel they made a positive impact on our communities and that our students benefited as well in participating in these projects. It's a great life lesson to learn to give back to our community and help each other out."
For the accomplishment, Columbia High School will be presented a plaque and recognized at the NYSPHSAA Central Committee Meeting and Banquet on July 30th at the Woodcliff Resort in Fairport, NY.
During the academic school year Columbia participated in three different community service challenges. In October, the football and cheerleading teams joined in the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Walk" in Albany's Washington Park. More than 200 students, coaches and parents participated in the walk, as well as sold pink t-shirts in their communities leading up to the event.
In December, student-athletes participated in the Rensselaer County Holiday Project, "Adopt-a-Family". All teams and coaches, grades 7-12 in East Greenbush Central School District collected toys, gift cards, clothes, wrapping paper and other items for 14 Rensselaer County families. For two weeks student-athletes organized the distribution of gifts to be donated to each of the families. They then delivered the toys and gifts to Rensselaer County Social Services.
Also in December, the softball team organized a fundraising event of pitching and hitting clinics to benefit the Deanna Rivers Memorial Scholarship Fund. In remembrance of Rivers, a Shenendehowa High School softball player who died in a tragic car accident earlier that month along with fellow classmate Chris Stewart, the team helped organize the clinics that were taught by Columbia's varsity coach Chris Ciccone and Fastpitch Universe instructors. Over the course of the eight clinics, the team collected a minimum of $25 per player for a total of $1910 by the program's end, nearly doubling their goal.