LATHAM, NY- The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has announced Oceanside High School (Section VIII) as the winner of the Community Service Challenge for spring 2022.

Oceanside High School was chosen as the winner by the NYSPHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which is comprised of two current student-athletes from each of the 11 member sections. This is the first time Oceanside has won the award and they are the fifth Section VIII school to win it.

Oceanside student-athletes started a leadership group called Student-Athletes in Service to Others. The group is comprised of roughly 65 scholar-athletes all who have a GPA of 90 or above, participate in at least one varsity sports and were refereed to apply by a coach or a teacher.

Student-Athletes in Service to Others organized the school’s life-fit ‘challenger’ basketball games, hosted a multi school kickball tournament and provide tutoring sessions with their peers. The group also created a video that was released on social media highlights the importance of student-athlete mental health.

"It is a privilege and honor to work with such amazing student-athletes who understand that HS athletics is about a cause greater than oneself, said Tom Lehman Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Health at Oceanside School District. “Our students focus on being well-rounded people in the classroom, community, and on the playing surface, which leads to a lifetime of success. The mental health video created by our student-athletes is just a small example of service that takes place in our school community daily.”

“It meant so much to me to be a part of something that gives athletes a supportive community”, said Jossie Zaccoli, Oceanside cheerleader. The group sets a positive example for young kids and shows athletes everywhere that they aren’t alone.”

A total of 134 projects were submitted with 4,420 student-athletes participating in some type of community service project this past spring. In total, $249,279 was raised for charitable causes with 17,792 hours donated by NYSPHSAA student-athletes.

For the 2021-22 school year, a total of 15,509 student-athletes participated in 429 community service project that were submitted. These students raised $537,130 for charitable causes this past school year.

The NYSPHSAA Community Service Challenge submissions are made though the Team Up 4 Community (TU4C) platform. This allows schools to submit their projects online providing sports teams the opportunity to showcase community service projects, demonstrating their commitment and impact in the community.