Each week, US Lacrosse is proud to highlight our Impact Athletes - boys’ and girls’ high school lacrosse players who are supporting their communities with special efforts during these challenging days.

US Lacrosse reviews all submissions and selects exemplary high school athletes to recognize. These are their stories.

This week, we highlight a team effort by the boys at St. Dominic High School in New York, and a young lady helping her fellow students in Oregon.

St. Dominic High School Boys’ Team – Oyster Bay, N.Y.

As defending Class A state champions, the Bayhawks were looking forward for a chance to repeat in 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of spring sports, they never got the chance. But that didn’t stop the team from finding a way to make its mark.

In preparation for a spring trip during the 2020 season, the team had been fundraising since the start of the school year. An all-day car wash, a pancake breakfast, and other activities had raised funds to help offset expenses associated with the team’s planned three-day trip to Baltimore. The cancellation of the season also derailed the spring trip.

“The players suggested doing something special with the money we had collected,” said head coach Tom Rooney. “This was their call.”

To show support for the team’s athletic trainer, Tony Marra, who is working full-time at NYU Winthrop Hospital in nearby Mineola, the team suggested donating $500 from their collection to provide meals for the frontline doctors and nurses at the hospital who were overwhelmed with caring for COVID-19 patients. Team parents who had contributed to the fundraising efforts gladly echoed their support.

“What touched us all was that this was an extremely thoughtful gesture by these young men, and also very personal because of our connection to our trainer,” Rooney said.

Ziggy Berkoff – Tualatin, Oregon

As a student at Portland’s Jesuit High School and a member of the 3D Oregon 2021 club team, lacrosse has had a strong impact in shaping the type of person that Ziggy Berkoff strives to be. It has motivated her to be better for something other than herself. She is committed to hard work and kindness toward others, and in recognition of her leadership skills, Berkoff, a junior, was selected as a team captain.

Despite the loss of the 2020 lacrosse season due to COVID-19, Berkoff wanted to fulfill the leadership role that she had been given. If not on the field, then off the field.

After noticing the negative impact that online school, necessitated by the pandemic quarantine, was having on fellow students, Berkoff and a few friends took action. They started an organization called Students Tutor Students, seeking to connect volunteer high school students who can tutor with other high school and middle school students who need help.

Since launching this online service in the spring, they have created a website, established a social media presence (@studentstutorstudents), and are now applying for official nonprofit status. As a member of the executive team, Berkoff serves as the organization’s public relations director. 

Through tutoring support, Berkoff’s group seeks to help students take control of their own education in this home-based environment. Having already recruited 50 volunteer tutors from across three states, the organization plans on using the summer months to help students in preparing for another possible semester of online education.
 

We all recognize that these are unusual and unprecedented times, unlike any that have been seen before. But great challenges also offer great opportunities, and US Lacrosse has already heard and shared some of these stories. 

Fortunately, we know that there are plenty more out there, and we want to hear your stories. Because of that, we have extended the original deadline and we want to continue receiving submissions that showcase the impact of high school athletes.

US Lacrosse has created an easy-to-use online submission form so you can share your stories and photos with us.