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Umttr holds basketball tournament and other fundraisers at Whitman

By Josh Millin

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Hundreds of students, parents and community members gathered at Whitman for a basketball fundraiser hosted by the organization umttr Sunday afternoon.

Umttr was originally created in honor of Churchill student Evan Rosenstock, who took his own life in early 2013. The organization’s main goal is to prevent bullying, depression and suicide among teens while promoting the message that every life matters.

The main draw of the event was a three-on-three basketball tournament, a tribute to Rosenstock’s love for the sport. The bracket consisted of 18 teams and three divisions: high schoolers, adults under 50 and adults over 50.

The fundraiser was organized by Justin Kay (‘15), co-chairman of umttr, and Andrew Cashmere (‘15). Both were friends and former basketball teammates of Rosenstock.

Principal Intern Karen Bryant, who made opening remarks to kick off the tournament, was impressed with how Kay and Cashmere decided to involve themselves with an important cause after Rosenstock’s passing, she said.

“What I admire about [them] is that they turned their grief into something proactive that can potentially help hundreds, even thousands of people,” she said.

Another highlight of the event was a silent auction, which featured items such as exclusive sporting event tickets and signed memorabilia. Participants could also attend workshops from the Positive Coaching Alliance or meet local professional sports players, including members of the Washington Redskins.

While most people in attendance were locals, several dozen counselors and staff members from Capital Camps, a sleepaway camp in Pennsylvania, helped with the fundraiser and played in the tournament as well. Rosenstock was a camper there for several summers and was close with some of the current counselors.

“We thought it would be meaningful for Capital Camps to show our support, volunteer, do whatever was needed of us, and also learn about all of the things umttr teaches,” Capital Camps director Jonah Geller said.

Sue Rosenstock, Evan’s mother and an orchestrator of the fundraiser, looks forward to working with umttr to make the basketball tournament a tradition.

“This was the second [tournament], and we do hope to have it annually or at least once a school year,” she said.

Rosenstock also described how important the event and its involvement of the community is to her, as it conveys umttr’s message and also includes so many people in the community as participants.

“It’s very meaningful because after the death of my son, we took a tragedy and made it into something positive,” she said. “It can help other people going forward, who may be feeling lost or depressed, [because] there’s always help, there’s someone here and that they matter.”

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The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School
Umttr holds basketball tournament and other fundraisers at Whitman