Service, passion, resourcefulness, scholarship – these are just some of the qualities that are embodied in all Chestnut Hill College students, especially our student-athletes, whose dedication to not only the mission of the College but also to the mission of the NCAA Division II, is evident both on and off the fields and courts.
Our student-athletes have recorded playoff victories, routinely make the All-Academic Team in the CACC (Central Athletic Collegiate Conference), have better than average graduation rates and are regularly seen doing their part to give back to the community.
Recently, two of the College's athletic programs, the men's basketball team and the women's lacrosse team, took time out of their busy schedules to serve two worthwhile area causes.
Men's Basketball Gives Back at Kenderton School
Knowing from their own experience the importance of staying in school, getting good grades, listening to parents and teachers and the value of secondary and tertiary education, the Chestnut Hill College men's basketball team visited Kenderton Elementary School in Philadelphia, to share stories and spend a day with students in grades kindergarten through second.
"It was a great experience," senior forward Filip Sekulic said. "I remember how I always looked up to someone older than me when I was their age. Knowing that every little thing we do with them has the possibility to make a difference in their lives is a great thing."
In addition to talking to the kids about the importance of academics, the Griffins gave the biggest gift of all by just spending time and giving their attention to the children. This included having lunch and spending recess with the three classes.
"It's important for young students to see college student-athletes because we can serve as an example and give them hope and guidance to put them on a similar path," sophomore guard Billy Cassidy said, summing up the value of his team's visit. "It was important to share with the students that if you take care of your responsibilities, on and off the court, then you will succeed at the highest level."
The Griffins will continue their community service with Kenderton throughout the year by offering basketball clinics and a luncheon for students at the school.
"It is very important to continue a relationship because the players and the students get to know each other on a more personal level which makes the visits more special for everyone," said Jesse Balcer, head men's basketball coach. "A lot of good bonds are made in a couple visits."
Friends of Jaclyn (FOJ) Brings a New Griffin to the Women's Lacrosse Team
On October 17, the CHC women's lacrosse team took the field for their annual alumni game but they were not alone. With them was Jillian Sayre, an eight-year-old girl with pediatric brain cancer who was officially adopted as an honorary member of the team.
Sayre is a member of Friends of Jaclyn (FOJ), a non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness and improve the quality of life for children battling brain tumors. The organization, founded by the Murphy family including CHC's own Taryn Murphy '18, was created out of an experience had by their daughter Jaclyn, who was adopted by the Northwestern women's lacrosse program in 2005.
Chestnut Hill College joins an extensive network of colleges and universities that are member teams of this organization, including Temple University's women's lacrosse team, where current CHC head coach, Chelsea Rosiak, was a student at the time.
"My experience adopting Devon Lam while at Temple forever changed my perspective of hardship and character," Rosiak said. "I am thrilled to pass these experiences on to my players."
Sayre has been invited to attend all home games as well as team bonding days and a personal FOJ day in the spring, an experience that Rosiek knows will not only change Sayre's life but the life of each of the ladies on the women's lacrosse team.
"We are here to help give a support system to Jill, instant friendships and to create a bond with her that will last a lifetime," Rosiak said. "There are no words to express how excited we are for this year and to spend time with Jill and her little sister, Alex."
- Marilee Gallagher '14