ORANGE, NJ – Losing everything in a house fire is one of the most devastating tragedies a family can ever endure.
And to have it occur around the holidays makes it even more heartbreaking.
Unfortunately, that was what happened to an Orange High School senior student-athlete and her family on Dec. 13.
The story touched many people in the community schools of the Super Essex Conference as they rallied together to offer support by raising money for the family
In the wake of the tragedy, a Gofundme page was created.
Bloomfield HS Athletic Director Steve Jenkins called OHS Vice-Principal/Athletic Director Mo Abdelaziz on Sunday evening, Dec. 16, and informed him that, as a gesture of support, host school Bloomfield would donate the gate proceeds from the Dec. 18 boys’ basketball game between Orange and Bloomfield to the fundraising cause.
Jenkins then informed SEC Executive Director Ron San Filippo, who then reached out to the entire SEC membership and told them about the incident. San Filippo contacted Abdelaziz, who shared more details about the student, who is a cheerleader and softball player who has a close a 4.0 GPA.
San Filippo shared the story in a Gofundme page and asked the SEC schools if they could relay the message to their communities and ask them if they can assist the family. Sure enough, it became a snowball effect where people started donating money. Approximately $6,136 was raised as of Friday, Dec. 21.
The 14 SEC schools who rallied for the family were Millburn HS, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Malcolm X. Shabazz, East Side HS, Verona HS, Technology HS, Mount St. Dominic Academy, Nutley HS, Seton Hall Prep, Orange HS, Bloomfield HS, Glen Ridge HS, and Essex Vocational Schools (Newark Tech and Payne Tech).
Abdelaziz, indeed, was touched by the outpouring of support from the SEC. The tremendous generosity exemplified the brotherhood of the conference.
“The neighboring communities and the families who heard the story fetl the importance of what it means to go out and give back,” said Abdelaziz. “I think, even personally speaking, I am not sure how any of us would handle a situation like this, other than helping or leaning on one another in a time of crisis, and I think the membership schools of the Super Essex Conference came together, like brother and sister, and provided a channel for this family to be assisted during these difficult circumstances in their life, and I think that faith and God have a lot to do with it. Many people wanted to help a student-athlete and a fellow member of the Super Essex Conference, like brothers and sisters.”