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  7. Averill Park Student-Athletes Make...

Varsity athletics at Averill Park Central School District is about much more than competing on the field or in the gymnasium.

Over the course of the school year, coaches and administrators try to instill the importance of giving back through volunteering in the community and teams participate in dozens of activities.

“As an athletic department, we stress to our student-athletes the importance of giving back to our community,” Athletic Director Mark Bubniak said. “Many people only see what our teams do when they are competing, however, our coaches and student-athletes are constantly giving back behind the scenes.

“Interscholastic athletics teaches many valuable, lifelong lessons and our hope is that our student-athletes continue to give back to their communities, wherever they may be, long after their time here at Averill Park is over.”

This year, the football cheer team made blankets for the Linus Project in the NICU and wrote letters to military veterans, thanking them for their service to our country.

“I think that volunteering is important for student athletes,” AP cheerleader Vita Spence said. “It’s important to represent the school well and give back to your community. It makes you a better role model for younger kids who want to be you one day.”

The football team volunteered at a youth football camp.

Members of the boys’ soccer team held weekly APYSL clinics, volunteered at summer soccer camp and coached and officiated in the youth soccer league.

Girls volleyball players participated in a fundraiser for the Ravena Tournament, which benefitted the American Diabetes Association.

Girls soccer assisted with the APYSL clinics and coached teams. They also raised money for Stef Strong.

The cross-country team held an apparel fundraiser, with proceeds going to needy APHS families for Thanksgiving. The team also worked with Road Runners.

Girls basketball held an AP Youth Clinic, competed in Coaches vs. Cancer, participated in the Hoops Against Hunger Campaign, held a Teacher Appreciation Night, participated in Peanut Butter & Jelly Games at Columbia High School, and wrote holiday letters for Luke Hoag.

Competitive cheerleading made blankets for the NICU and participated in Hope 7 Adopt a Family.

“We believe volunteer work and community service projects are beneficial to developing responsible, well-rounded young adults,” cheer coach Tiffani Foust said. “As coaches, we want each athlete to leave our program ready to be productive members of society. Community service fosters growth and learning that can’t always be obtained in a classroom setting.”

Boys bowling adopted two shoe boxes for the Shoe Box Project, decorated the bowling alley for the holidays and helped with the youth program.

Girls bowling decorated the bowling alley for the holidays.

Boys basketball raised more than $8,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer, donated stockings for the Troy Boys & Girls Club, read to the Miller Hill-Sand Lake Elementary first grade students, collected money at Crossgates Mall for the Capital District food Bank, participated in Peanut Butter & Jelly Games at Columbia High School, and ran a clinic for the APYBL.

The wrestling team volunteered with the APYWA.

Baseball held a field clean-up and youth clinics.

Outdoor track and field members worked with AP Road Runners.

Girls lacrosse players ran two free lacrosse clinics.

With the 2018-19 school year in the rearview mirror, the athletic department has its sites set on the upcoming sports seasons and expects its student-athletes to continue to find ways to connect with, and make an impact on, the local community.

Cheer team volunteering

Boys basketball reading to first graders