The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has announced the Maple Hill (Section 2) girls soccer program as the winner of the Fall 2020 Community Service Challenge. The Maple Hill girls soccer program was chosen as the winner by the NYSPHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which is comprised of two current student-athletes from each of the 11 member sections. This is the first time Maple Hill has won the award and just the third Section 2 team to win it.
In 2010 the program was established statewide to encourage student-athletes to be engaged in their communities and annually announced just one winner. Two years ago, the program was revised to recognize a winner from each sports season thanks to a new partnership with Team Up 4 Community (TU4C). The partnership now also allows schools to submit their projects online providing sports teams the opportunity to showcase community service projects demonstrating their commitment and impact in the community.
The Maple Hill girls soccer program (modified, junior varsity and varsity teams) participated in Operation Gratitude to thank military personnel and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty student-athletes took part in a letter writing campaign from October 1, 2020 through October 9, 2020. Letters were collected and sent to military personnel and first responders to say thank you, and to let them know their courage and sacrifice has helped better the lives of school children everywhere.
“We are very proud of our girls soccer program for taking the initiative to recognize the hard work of military personnel and first responders in Operation Gratitude during these challenging times,” said Mike Silver, Maple Hill Athletic Director. “The willingness to participate in a community service project while going through a pandemic shows great character and leadership from our coaches and student-athletes.”
“On behalf of the Maple Hill girls varsity team, we are extremely honored to be accepting this award for the community service we did this fall,” said Meghan Bennett, Maple Hill senior. “For the people fighting for our country, and fighting this pandemic head on during such an uncertain time, we give our utmost gratitude and appreciation. I am incredibly grateful to my coaches, who value community service, and stressed its importance on our team. I am immensely proud of our team and am so blessed to have been a part of Operation Gratitude.”
“I am extremely proud of the Maple Hill Girls Soccer Program for keeping the tradition of community service alive, despite the COVID 19 pandemic,” said Sheila Golden, Maple Hill Girls Varsity Soccer Coach. “The athletes in the girls soccer program recognized the value in honoring not only those that fight to keep our country safe, but also those who work, and are still working, to keep our country healthy as we work toward finding a COVID 19 vaccine.”
A total of 58 projects were submitted with 1.770 student-athletes participating in some type of community service project this past fall. In total, $82,652 was raised for charitable causes with 5,793 hours donated by NYSPHSAA student-athletes. Maple Hill will be honored at the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meeting at the World Catskill Resort on Tuesday, July 27th.
Previous Community Service Challenge Champions-
Fall, Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School-Girls Soccer Program (Section 2)
Fall, Ossining High School-Football Team (Section I)
Winter, Cambridge Central School-Girls Basketball Program (Section 2)
Spring, Smithtown High School West-Football Team (Section XI)
Fall, Canandaigua Academy-Girls Volleyball Team (Section V)
Eastport South Manor-Boys Volleyball Team (Section (XI)
Winter, Harrison High School-Athletes in Action (Section I)
Spring, Hewlett High School-Leaders Club (Section VIII)
Farmingdale High School (Section VIII)
Akron High School (Section VI)
Mahopac High School (Section I)
Kings Park High School (Section XI)
Arlington High school (Section I)
Columbia High School (Section 2)
Ossining High School (Section I)
Adirondack Central School (Section III)