Fundraisers to be held in honor of Matt Roberge

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Fundraisers to be held in honor of Matt Roberge

A poster advertising the Saturday game

A poster advertising the Saturday game

A poster advertising the Saturday game

A poster advertising the Saturday game

Varshini Ramanathan, Sports Editor

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In the wake of Westford Academy junior Matt Roberge’s passing after a lengthy battle with leukemia, organizations across WA have been commemorating the life of Roberge with various fundraisers and events. A basketball game will be hosted on Saturday to fund the remaining medical costs, and a soccer game on September 24th will help to raise money for the Matt Roberge Scholarship Fund.

This Saturday, September 17th, WA will be hosting well-known basketball team the Harlem Wizards. This team travels to schools across the country to hold fundraisers and shows for a variety of ages and occasions, specializing in entertaining ‘trick shots’ and the like. The Wizards will be playing a WA team called Matt’s Magic, made of Roberge’s friends and fellow soccer team members, as well as some of the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams.

There will be two games: one at 3:00 P.M. for elementary schoolers, where teachers will be playing the Wizards, and one at 7:00 P.M. for WA students. Ticket costs are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Proceeds from tickets, as well as sales of T-Shirts and wristbands in honor of Roberge, will go towards supporting the Roberge family.

According to WA Dean Betsy Murphy, the idea was first proposed by Kathleen Huntley, the principal of Abbott Elementary school where Mrs. Roberge works. When she met Murphy at Matt Roberge’s wake last month, she proposed the idea of holding one more fundraiser in honor of the WA student.

It will be similar to the ‘Throwback Teen Center’ fundraiser held at WA last year, where all of the proceeds went to Roberge’s medical costs.

“There were expenses at the end that weren’t necessarily covered by [the TBTC], so we decided to do one more event in Matt’s name to feed that fund,” said Murphy.

The Harlem Wizards have never played WA students before, although they have been to one of the middle schools, where it was reportedly a huge success. Murphy feels that the event is a rare opportunity to see a talented team play and hopes that the unique experience will draw people to the event.

“They are almost like stunt men with a basketball […] this is the kind of stuff that you go to Boston to see, so [having] it in your backyard is a big bonus,” Murphy said. “There’s going to be nothing more fun going on Saturday night in Westford, Massachusetts than the Harlem Wizards game.”

Since Roberge’s death, there has been widespread efforts for both his remembrance and support for his family. Actions such as the wristbands given out to all athletes, moments of silence at sports games, and general condolences have greatly impacted Roberge’s loved ones said Murphy.

“It’s definitely bittersweet. I think that they are touched beyond belief that students are rallying at such a difficult time, and students are coming out of the woodwork and wanting to do different things in order to honor Matt,” she said.

Along this vein, the WA Boys’ Varsity Soccer team is planning to hold a scholarship fundraiser during their game on Saturday, September 24th. Lynn Jones, who works in Special Services at WA, is one of the organizers of the event.

Prior to the varsity game at 7:00pm against Chelmsford, the junior varsity team will be playing at 5:00pm. At both games, all proceeds from tickets as well as profits from food at the Snack Shack will contribute to the fund. Both teams will be playing at the Westford Academy Trustees Field.

According to Jones, the Roberges wanted to start a scholarship fund to be given out at WA every year in honor of their son, so the soccer team decided to help out with fundraising. The parents of athletes on both the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams have contributed to help make the event possible.

“This is our way to help them raise some money for the scholarship fund,” said Jones.

 

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