Annual Play4TheCure Builds Community and Raises Funds for Cancer Research


The Gunn community showed up in many ways to support the annual Play4theCure field hockey game, played under the lights on Barnes Field on Saturday, October 29. Organized by both the JV and Varsity Field Hockey teams, the game and fundraising events surrounding it, including a bake sale, dress down day, and bracelet sale, succeeded in building community while supporting a good cause. The team raised $2,560 — more than double its initial goal — for the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

Four teams of 20-25 students, one representing each grade, participated for a chance to compete in the final. The freshman and sophomore teams were both eliminated after the first round of play, leaving the juniors to face off against the seniors in the final.

“The seniors won on a highly controversial goal. The juniors had the opportunity to score on a corner with no time left on the clock and just pushed it wide, making the final score 2-1,” said Dean of Students and Head Coach for Varsity Field Hockey Ashley LeBlanc, who took on the additional role of referee for the evening, along with Dean of Studies and Assistant Coach for Varsity Field Hockey Amy Paulekas. 

“It was a wonderful event where our whole community gathered for a greater cause and had a lot of fun with each other, learning and playing field hockey together,” LeBlanc said. “We had music and Solo stoves and there was just awesome energy under the lights.”

“Our goal going into it was to raise $1,200. We raised over $2,500. Shout out to everyone who donated — and thank you!” Varsity Field Hockey Captain Maya Sellinger ’23 said at School Meeting on Thursday. As the only returning senior on the varsity squad, Sellinger stepped into a leadership role for this year’s event. “I liked being able to organize everything and I was working toward raising money for a good cause. That was a driving factor. It just felt good.” 

Asked if she was personally inspired to get involved in raising funds for cancer research, Sellinger said she has a friend whose mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Each student who participated in Play4theCure was invited to create a poster that said, “I play for,” to acknowledge family members or friends they were playing in honor of this year. “That was amazing to see and reflect on,” said Betty Hagymasi, Head Coach for JV Field Hockey, who complimented Sellinger’s leadership behind the scenes.

“A huge thanks to the Athletic Department, and Buildings and Grounds. It was truly a  community event and effort,” the coaches said.

“I thought it was pretty good. A lot of people signed up,” Sellinger said, reflecting on the success of the event. Even if students were not playing on a team, she said, they donated to the official fundraising page, or contributed in other ways. Students in the Baking Club baked brownies and ran the bake sale outside Haddick Field House. Parents donated baked goods, snacks, and funds for custom t-shirts (in different colors for each team) as well as a pizza party for the winners.

“Some of the day students were able to make some baked goods at home and bring them,and then we got a ton of donations from parents and families, which was also really helpful,” Sellinger said, acknowledging, “I thought we would have trouble reaching our goal. I was very surprised once I got back from going around to dorms. I counted what we had collected and we had over half our goal, just from that. I thought it was kind of cool.”

Thank you to the following Gunn parents for sponsoring the team t-shirts: Sabeth Albert P’25, Martine Capalbo P’23, Jennifer Clement P’22 ’25, Kerri Jackson P’24, Rachel Mears P’26, Lis Reed P’23, Missy Schifano P’24, Sheryl Warren P’22 ’24, and Caroline West P’25. And thank you to the many Gunn parents who sent in baked good for the bake sale and snacks for the players!

View more photos of Play4theCure in our SmugMug gallery.

Additional Images

Play4theCure group celebration