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PRHS students, staff organize fundraiser for student in need

Ruffer-Nutters was one of 13 student flag football teams who participated in a fundraising tournament to benefit Plymouth Regional High School senior Luc Bisson in his battle against brain cancer. Two faculty teams took part in the tournament as well. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
November 24, 2021
PLYMOUTH – Cheers and referee whistles could be heard echoing over the Chuck E. Lenahan Athletic Fields at Plymouth Regional High School on Nov. 20, when students and faculty members gathered on the football field to score a touchdown for senior Luc Bisson and his family.

Luc has been diagnosed with Glioblastoma, an inoperable brain cancer, and visits to his team of healthcare providers in Boston are not only stressful, but costly. Hoping to put some of those financial worries aside, Luc's classmates, the entire school community, local residents and businesses all pitched in to hold a flag football competition/fundraiser last weekend in Luc's honor.

"He's our friend. He's in our class, and we wanted to do something to help," said PRHS senior Ella Kunz.

Fellow classmate Tori Whitcher said the senior class and student council decided recently to organize a flag football tournament where all the money raised by the event would go to the Bisson family.

Senior class advisor Lori DeVost said she was very proud of the class for all the time and energy they put into making the event a success.

"They did everything you see here and they've been absolutely incredible," said DeVost on Saturday. "This was a labor of love for these kids."

By everything, she meant literally "everything." When the students first presented her with the idea of a flag football fundraiser, she referred them to the principal to get the proper permissions. From there the students organized brackets for the tournament, registered teams of both students and faculty members for the competition, then went looking for donations from the community for gift baskets that were raffled off at the end of the day Saturday. In addition to all of that, there were donation jars for the cause and both students and their parents pitched in to provided great food to sell over the course of the day. Crockpots filled with hot lunch items, trays of sandwiches, hot dogs, chips, drinks and desserts lined several tables and money raised through those sales also went into the till for Luc's family. Throughout the day, minimal lunch costs often turned into generous calls to "keep the change."

Thanks to the Plymouth Recreation Department, the field was striped to form three playing fields that day where students of all ages formed 13 teams for the competition and faculty members, ready to challenge their students, made up two additional teams. Colorful tee shirts distinguished each with names such as the Ruffer-Nutters, the Flaming Flags, Green Goblins, the Lady Bobcatz, and the Uncoordinated.

"4th Down and Inches" was one of the two faculty teams and math/physics teacher Andrew Havey found out that while he is their teacher, it was they who may have taught him a bit through this community-minded project.

"These kids are great! They were super into this and I'm proud of how they're dealing with it all and supporting their classmate," Havey said. "It's something I hope we can make an annual charitable event here."

Havey was also pleased that faculty members were invited to participate in the tournament and noted that the days leading up to the fundraiser were a lot of fun for both students and faculty as well.

"There was a lot of camaraderie in the classrooms. I'm proud of our students and so glad I have the opportunity to teach here," said Havey.

While everyone from freshmen to seniors gave their all when facing off against rival teams, in the end it was the students of the Purple Pythons team who walked away as Champions of the PRHS Flag Football Tournament in honor of Luc Bisson.

"There are only winners here today," staff member Danae Dalphonse, who made the announcements throughout the games, reminded the crowd.

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