2017 GIRLS' KIND SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD WINNER
Isabella Scassera is a senior at Riverview High School, a two sport Academic Athlete, as well as Captain of the Raiderettes, and chair or participant in many student activities. Isabella is also a student coach for the junior high volleyball team.
We would like to acknowledge Bella for not only her leadership on the Volleyball team as a two year captain but her overall performance. Bella was chosen as captain in her junior year for her ability be a positive influence, to intercede and calm her teammates when necessary. She is a hard worker and the best teammate anyone could ask for. She has never received an award for her performance but would play wherever and whenever the coaches asked. Even in times of change, frustration and heartbreak, she still showed up, did her job, and led her team.
Bella showed her resilience as a player, person, and friend this October, very sadly, as she lost her best friend in a tragic train accident. Not something that anyone can handle at any age, but even worse to lose your best friend during your senior year of high school. With two weeks left in her senior season, Bella had to say good bye to her best friend, help her team make the play-offs, get through Senior Night, and find a new normal.
Instead of letting Senior Night be about her and the other seniors, she made it a night of dedicated remembrance to her best friend. With the Riverview fans and families all wearing the color that she loved and headbands with her initials on them. It wasn't about Bella it was about 'US'. All of Us.
You could say that she was in shock, or that she needed the distraction, but this is Bella Scassera's character. She is selfless, she is concerned about everyone, and does exemplify the highest ideals not only for herself & team but for anyone around her.
She not only kept a team together but she brought a community closer. Selflessly walked around hugging the world to let them know that they would all be okay.
2017 BOYS' KIND SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD WINNER
Cancer. A six-letter word that changes everyone's life. The patient, the family, friends, teammates. In the case of Tommy Laudani, Cross Country and Track rivals.
Josh Long and Tommy compete at rival schools in south central Pennsylvania; Josh for Fairfield High School and Tommy for Delone Catholic. They have competed for three years and over those years, became friends as well as competitors. Sometimes Tommy would win, sometimes Josh. Always, they would congratulate the winner and console the loser.
However, this fall Tommy's times started to get slower and Josh won more races. Still, they continued to support each other-texting and snap-chatting after each meet to see how the other's race had gone. In November of 2016, Tommy was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive type of cancer. Tumors started in his abdomen and spread rapidly to the different organs. Prognosis is poor. Tommy's news was devastating as he now faces a tough battle with chemotherapy and radiation.
Immediately upon hearing this from the Delone Coaches, Josh initiated a GOFUNDME account in Tommy's name. Josh flooded social media and implored all he reached to donate to Tommy's fund. Josh's initial goal was to raise $800.00 to help pay for some of the rapidly growing medical bills resulting from Tommy's treatment. Josh's enthusiasm to help Tommy was contagious. Athletes and parents from Delone and Fairfield jumped on the bandwagon to help Josh raise money for Tommy. In less than a month, Josh raised nearly $6,000.00 for Tommy and his family.
During this timeframe, Josh has also been in constant contact with Tommy through visits or, when Tommy's white blood cell counts are too low for visitors, social media. He has brought other runners to visit Tommy and has encouraged Fairfield athletes to keep in touch with Tommy to help his spirits.
Rarely do you see this type of compassion amongst rival athletes. Josh could have sent a card, asked his mom to bake a meal, or just simply said, "That stinks." Instead, he sided with Tommy to help him fight. As a result, the burden of Tommy's medical bills are less and his family just went on a trip to the Atlanta Aquarium-a dream come true for Tommy and a trip made possible by Josh's GOFUNDME campaign.
In a time of need, he did not hesitate to act. His actions truly exemplify the highest ideals of interscholastic competition. As coaches and athletes, we hear those words before every race. Josh took those words to heart when he selflessly set out to help Tommy and negated any sense of enmity that rivals often feel.
For these reasons, the PIAA in cooperation with KIND Snacks, are honored to present Bella Scassera and Josh Long the 2017 Girls' and Boys' Kind Sportsmanship Awards.