Columbia High School was announced as the winner of the Winter 2021 Community Service Challenge on Tuesday by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA). Columbia was chosen as the winning school by the NYSPHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which is comprised of two current student-athletes from each of the 11 member sections.
Established in the fall of 2010, the program encourages students to stay active in their communities. For the past two years, NYSPHSAA has partnered with Team Up for Community to allow online submissions. The Team Up for Community portal provides schools the opportunity to showcase community service projects which ultimately fosters young peoples’ sense of civic engagement and community thus helping them achieve their educational, developmental, and social goals.
Columbia has organized an Adopt-A-Family program during the holiday season for the last 15 years. This year student-athletes, coaches and staff, in addition to alumni from as far back as 1950, purchased gifts for families in need. They wrapped the gifts and delivered them along with gift cards to a local grocery store. The Adopt-A-Family program was able to help 57 families and over 200 children this past holiday season.
“It is an honor for Columbia athletics to receive this prestigious award,” said Mike Leonard, Columbia Athletic Director. “The Adopt-A-Family program has been a wonderful tradition that the Columbia athletic family has participated in to bring joy to many families during the holiday season. It means so much to all of us.”
“The Adopt-A-Family program has been a great tradition for our community and district,” said Audra Di Bacco, Columbia Unified Basketball Coach. “Over the years, alumni, student-athletes, staff and community members have contributed to our wonderful program. It was truly amazing that during a national pandemic, we were able to provide even more to families than in the past and it’s a huge credit to all of those involved in the program and all those that support it.”
Columbia High School will be honored and given their physical award at the NYSPHSAA Recognition Luncheon as part of the Central Committee meeting on Tuesday, July 27th at the Resorts World Catskills in Monticello.
A total of 89 projects were submitted with 1,702 student-athletes participating in some type of community service project. Student-Athletes volunteered 7,130 hours to their projects and in total, $121,485 was raised for charitable causes.
— NYSPHSAA (@NYSPHSAA) March 30, 2021
Previous Community Service Challenge Champions
- Fall – Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School-Girls Soccer Program (Section 2)
- Winter – Columbia High School (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)
- 2018 – Farmingdale High School (Section VIII)
- 2017 – Akron High School (Section VI)
- 2016 – Mahopac High School (Section I)
- 2015 – Kings Park High School (Section XI)
- 2014 – Arlington High school (Section I)
- 2013 – Columbia High School (Section 2)
- 2012 – Ossining High School (Section I)
- 2011 – Adirondack Central School (Section III)