TOWANDA BOROUGH — The Towanda varsity girls soccer team and elementary school teamed up to raise money for a longtime employee of the school who was diagnosed with cancer recently on Tuesday.
The girls soccer team has held a pink game for the past few years to raise money for those with cancer. In the first few years they gave the money raised to organizations, but last year decided to give the money to someone connected to their team and community fighting cancer and decided to do it again this year by donating the money raised to former elementary custodian Jack Hagadorn.
“It feels good to be able to do this,” said Brooks Greenland, a member of the Towanda School Board and the girls soccer booster club, on Tuesday.
Greenland said that the girls had sold 50/50 tickets, held a bake sale, balloon release and basket raffles to raise the $1,000 given to the longtime custodian.
“It’s really important for any team to recognize that it is more than soccer that we do, it’s what we do for one another that are close knit to us,” Towanda girls’ soccer coach Joseph Picco said.
Elementary Principal Susan Higley said that the elementary school wanted to try to match the funds raised by the girls soccer team when they heard about the pink game, and they came up just short. The school raised $948 from students, faculty and former co-workers on their pink out day.
“Even people he worked with years ago came in today to donate,” Higley said. “He’s made a huge impact. Even kids that didn’t have pink were donating to the cause. It truly shows their Black Knight pride.”
“The kids are used to seeing him everyday,” she said of Hagadorn’s impact at the school. “He’s their role model during the day and he has no problem pitching in. I can’t say enough about him.”
The girls soccer team and about hundred others gathered at the Endless Mountains Sports Complex to surprise Hagadorn with the $1,948 total donation on Tuesday afternoon after school dismissed.
“It’s a very big honor, I’m greatly touched,” Hagadorn said of the donation. “People are thinking about you all of the time, they remember you. I don’t know what else to say, it’s just wonderful.”
The former custodian said that he misses his job at the school but thinks he’s earned some retirement after his diagnosis of lung and bone cancer.
“I miss it greatly, getting up and coming in everyday and seeing the kids. I really loved my job,” he continued.“I just want to enjoy the time I have, these next few months will be my retirement.”