WANTAGH, NY — A group of Nassau County high school students were recently honored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society — the world’s largest blood cancer nonprofit — as the 2021 Long Island Students of the Year, according to a Wantagh School District news release.
The fundraising team, “Warriors for a Cure,” which is made up of students from Wantagh, Chaminade, and Sacred Heart Academy high schools, raised about $111,000 over seven-weeks — raising more funds than 23 participating high school teams across Long Island — to “support the fight against cancer,” school district officials said.
This year, team leaders Ashley Reisert from Wantagh, Nicholas Bifone from Chaminade, and Haley Leimbach from Sacred Heart Academy, teamed up with Wantagh students Madison Boyle, Joey Labo, Haley Lerch, Skyla Marchesi, Grace Massari, Olivia Pugliese and Kaitlyn Rochel to form the team.
In their efforts, the team raised funds and also organized Zoom lessons, in which community volunteers taught dancing, cooking, cardio and yoga, school district officials said. They hosted raffles, local business fund raisers, merchandise sales with the Tri-M Music Honor Society and Key Club, as well as cookie dough sales and a Penny Wars competition to see who could collect the most pennies, according to school district officials.
The students also asked for personal donations throughout their fundraising efforts, school district officials said.
“Although LLS is known for funding groundbreaking cures for adults suffering from leukemia and lymphoma, we are happy that the money we raised will be going toward child initiatives,” Reisert stated.
Principal Paul Guzzone is extremely proud of the students who dedicated their time and efforts towards benefitting such an important cause, according to school district officials.
“You couldn’t have a better group of students,” he stated in the news release, adding, “These young people are changing the world.”
Members of a local LLS community’s chapter nominate students to form teams and devise a plan for fundraising, as part of a yearly competition called “Students of the Year,” according to school district officials. It’s a philanthropic leadership development program that helps students foster professional skills, such as marketing, project management and entrepreneurship, while raising vital funding, school district officials said.