For seven weeks, a team of philanthropic high school students from Connecticut, Westchester and the Hudson Valley participated in a fundraising competition, Students of the Year, on behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Connecticut, Westchester and Hudson Valley chapter. They worked tirelessly and collectively raised $125,000 for this national campaign. The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families, and these funds will directly support that mission.

The students and their teams were recognized at The Loft at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, CT. Ninety guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres, an open wine bar, a dessert station of s’mores and lively music. To raise additional funds for the evening, a silent auction and Fund-the-Fight paddle raise were conducted. Guest Speaker, Dr. Alanna Levine, pediatric physician at Boston Children’s Health, gave a moving talk about her family’s experience with her son’s diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia at just 10 years old.

Co-candidates Hannah Cleary and Brian Dervin of White Plains earned the title 2018 Students of the Year, raising over $35,000. “Watching Hannah and Brian engage in the campaign opened my eyes to the enormous impact two teenagers can have on the world if they are courageous enough to take on the challenge,” said Beth Cleary, Hanna’s mother. “We are so very proud of Brian and Hannah for accepting this challenge and working as hard as they could to raise as much as possible in seven weeks,” said Brian’s parents, Kevin and Mary Ellen Dervin. Both sets of parents shared their enormous sense of pride that their teenagers chose to look outside themselves and into the eyes of six year-old Gio, their honored hero.

The Citizenship Award for Mission Integration was awarded to co-candidates Amilia and Matthew Gullotta of Ossining High School.The Citizenship Award for Community Service was awarded to co-candidates Dylan Goldstein and Owen Shaw of Tappan Zee and Nyack High Schools, respectively.

Photographs by Cheryl Moss