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The Seneca sports teams gather at the stadium for photo with inspirational banner.

Cal Column: Seneca sports family unites to help Hurricane Harvey victims

10/01/2017, 12:15pm EDT
By Kevin Callahan, SJSD

The Golden Eagles raised over, $1,500 from their own pockets

There really is plenty to admire about the Seneca High School sports programs.

Obviously, they are really competitive and classy.

And, most impressive of all, the Golden Eagles athletes are also compassionate.

Recently, the Seneca athletic teams joined forces to support the victims impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“To me, it goes well beyond wins and losses, we try to teach about civic responsibility,” Golden Eagles athletic director Brad Bauer said. “And our kids respond, they always jump in and help out and that's the most important thing.”

Bauer said over $1,500 was raised by the athletes for the American Red Cross.

“It was something the field hockey team came to me about, right away I was on board,” Bauer said.

Seneca field hockey coach Julie Smith put the wheels of goodness in motion.

“That weekend when Harvey hit Texas, I was at home with my daughter, she is only two-and-a-half, and I saw a guy helping a young girl, and I thought we had to do something,” Smith said.

Abby Regn, a midfielder and senior captain, followed her coach’s lead and soon her teammates followed her and other athletes in the school followed the field hockey team.

Really, the process was that simple, which should serve as inspiration for other schools.

“It was really special and important,” Regn said. “Coach Smith said she wanted to raise money and everyone jumped on.”

Regn worked with Smith to make a banner that read: “You may be the Lone Star State, but you’re not alone.”

Smith came up with a slogan to “try to do something that is emotional and touching and something that would get the kids together.”

The athletes gathered at Seneca’s stadium donned in their Golden Eagles’ gear for a photo. The picture was sent out on social media.

Since the picture was taken in August, school wasn’t even in session yet when the student-athletes came together to help others.

“I didn’t want to wait for school to start, I wanted to get done immediately and wanted to challenge other schools to give back,” Smith said.

Smith told her team, “You can bring a handful of change, whatever you can bring you bring, it doesn’t matter,”

Yes, the money raised were from the pockets of the Seneca athletes.

And, the Seneca cross-country team also raised money from outside sources.

“Our cross-country team jumped right into it and connected with a cross-country team in Texas, who had lost everything,” Bauer said. “They lost shoes and uniforms, their school was demolished. Our cross-country team raised $1,200 by having a car wash, which was a pretty cool idea.”

Cool and caring mixes well at Seneca.

A few years back, Smith organized the field hockey team to do the Ice Bucket Challenge to fight ALS.

“I believe we can help and we should help and I think sports is about being a leader on the team, but also in community too,” said Smith, an English teacher.

“I think when difficult things happen in life you can sit back or do something and it is much more empowering to do something,” Smith said. “I always want to do something.”

Regn, who is committed to play field hockey next year at Rutgers, will leave Seneca at the end of this year with much more than an elite athletic experience.

“We always say Seneca is a family, it really is a family,” Regn said. “We always try to help out each other whenever we can.”

Truly, there really is plenty to like about the Seneca sports programs.

Khaliel Burnett competing at the Meet of Champions
Winslow ran away with state Group 3 crown
The inaugural Schalick girls; state champions
Seniors Bill Goldsborough (left) and Michael Szwed
Left to right: Jade Pope, Jon'Nay Lloyd, Jasmine Pope, Keyoura Smith (junior) of the 4x400 Pennsauken relay team.

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