On May 26, the Commack Boys Varsity Tennis team took their talents to the courts in an attempt to bring awareness and raise money for Nassau/Suffolk Services for Autism (NSSA). The Annual Autism Awareness Event, “Play With the Teachers Doubles Tournament” was an event where Commack High School teachers and students teamed up to raise money for autism research, while playing the sport of tennis.
Before the event began, Commack Boys Varsity Tennis Coach Shane Helfner made it clear what the day was all about: “Today is all about giving back.”
Noting that this has been the sixth consecutive year the event has been held, Helfner was enthusiastic and showed how important the event was to him and to everyone involved.
“When I originally planned this, I wanted to find a way to bring more people to the tennis courts, and have the community be involved in what we do here. Everyone enjoys seeing their teachers outside the classroom, and I think this is the best way to combine school, tennis, and the community together for a great cause,” said Helfner. “The best part of this event is that NSSA is right here in Commack. It is always nice to donate money to a corporation, but we're truly giving back to the Commack community.”
Commack Boys’ Varsity Tennis Captain Nick Fox and Commack High School math teacher Christina Pawlowski also shared their thoughts on the event. Fox, a junior, noted that raising money for charity helped bring the team together.
“We are all great friends on the court and also outside of school, so it’s like another day of practice, but now we have all these people here and we are raising all of this money,” said Fox.
For Pawlowski, this marks her third time participating in the event. Pawlowski showed nothing but praise for the event and was thrilled when she was asked by a student to team up with him.
“Being asked by a student is a huge honor, it is the biggest compliment you can get,” said Pawlowski. “The event is a relaxed atmosphere and a great way to bring attention to autism, Shane Helfner does a really nice job every single year, you can tell he puts his heart and soul into it.”
Though the friendly tournament was about bringing awareness and raising money, participation medals, gift baskets and trophies were prizes for those who came out and helped bring the school, tennis program and the community together for a worthy cause.
Credit all photos to Jacob Mishkin
<p>Jacob Mishkin is an intern with Long Island Tennis Magazine. The Woodbury, N.Y. native is currently a junior at St. Bonaventure University where he plays for the Men's Tennis Team. </p>