A Team Effort - Cadets Give Back

Massachusetts Maritime Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) keeps a busy schedule on the playing fields and off. In addition to keeping up with their studies and practice and game schedules, student-athletes volunteered and raised funds for local organizations throughout the 2016–2017 academic year. It has been said that volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart. This is certainly true of the SAAC, which we commend for its efforts and its commitment to the community.

A WINNING SPIRIT

Among the accomplishments of the SAAC this past year was the fundraising effort during national NCAA Division III Week. The group raised $1,000 for the 1019 Foundation in honor of Falmouth High School student-athletes James Lavin and Owen Higgins, who were killed in an automobile accident last December. The two played both football and hockey for Falmouth High School, and Lavin was set to enroll at the Academy this fall and play football for the Buccaneers.

During competition throughout the week of April 1–8, Buccaneer student-athletes wore 10/19 Lav/Higgy stickers on their protective batting and playing equipment. In addition, the baseball, softball, and lacrosse teams displayed numbers 10 and 19 jerseys, the numbers worn by Lavin and Higgins, to honor their memory. The funds raised for the 1019 Foundation will be used to award scholarships to athletes at Falmouth High School as well as scholarships for youth sports to families in need.

FOR THE KIDS

The SAAC hosted two Community Games nights, during which four basketball teams from the Special Olympics of Cape Cod came to the Clean Harbors Athletic Center for a night of competition and fun. The first event took place on January 17, with teams from Wareham, Hyannis, Freetown, and New Bedford ready to compete. The four squads returned to MMA on Valentine’s Day for the second Community Games basketball night. Buccaneer student-athletes served as referees for all eight games. In May, the SAAC was proud to join members of the Cape Cod community for the Special Olympics Field Day event, which was held at Barnstable High School.

This past November, members of the SAAC and the Academy’s Department of Athletics participated in a field day event at the Riverview School, an independent boarding/day school for students age 11–22 with complex language, learning, and cognitive challenges, located in East Sandwich, Mass. Student-athletes from both institutions competed in a cross country race and a soccer match at Riverview.

JOINING FORCES

Together, the SAAC and the Academy Student Government Association raised nearly $7,500 for the Pat Tillman Foundation. The two student organizations teamed up to sponsor a pair of events, which included a dress-down day and the second annual SAAC Tillman Jersey Raffle. During the past three years, the MMA community has raised more than $10,000 in support of the Pat Tillman Foundation and its Tillman Scholars Program.

For the past 15 years, the Pat Tillman Foundation has honored the commitment to service that the former NFL player and fallen veteran held dear. The foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships, which cover direct study-related expenses. To date, the Pat Tillman Foundation has invested nearly $14 million in academic support, naming more than 460 Tillman Scholars at some 100 academic institutions across the country.

As the world grows increasingly distracting, it’s important to hark back to the wisdom of Aristotle, who asked and answered, “What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” Congratulations to the SAAC — and all members of the MMA community — who have taken the opportunity to care for those who need a little more.