Selden, N.Y. – On February 22nd, cheerleading and dance teams from East Coast Conference and other Long Island institutions joined together to perform in the ECC’s Sixth Annual Spirit Showcase. The event, combined with the selling of pom-poms by ECC member schools, raised over $7,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
"The Spirit Showcase has become a real signature event for the ECC," said ECC Commissioner, Dr. Robert Dranoff. "Each year we have been able to team with Make-A-Wish to help the story of the important work this amazing organization does. We got off to a rough start this year with some difficult weather, but the sun came out and it turned into one of the best attended, best fundraising efforts we have had."
Each year the event is kicked off with a former wish recipient provided by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County. This year’s speaker was Sklyer, from Long Island.
When Skyler was 12 years old, she was diagnosed with Alexander's disease, a rare neurological disorder in her brain. During the next several months, Skyler had to undergo numerous MRIs, doctors visits and surgeries. When she learned she had been selected to receive a wish, she combined two loves: Disney World and baking. She traveled to Florida to work the pastry chefs at the Grand Floridian Hotel at Disney.
Skyler is now a student in the culinary program at Suffolk County Community College, and has been accepted to Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island where she plans to pursue a career in that field. She gives back to others in need, serving as a representative for Make-A-Wish of Suffolk County, speaking about the impact that organization has had on her life.
Also making an appearance at the event to sing the national anthem for the second straight year was former wish recipient and "The Voice" contestant, MarissaAnn.
Dranoff commented, "Special thanks goes to Make-A-Wish of Suffolk County and their volunteers for supporting us. Both Wish Alumni who helped out this year, Skyler, our featured speaker and MarissaAnn, last year's speaker who returned to do another great National Anthem, were outstanding and helped to send the message to everyone there.
After Skyler spoke and MarissaAnn sang, the cheerleaders and dancers took center stage to perform in front of the crowd.
Although focused on participation from member institutions, the East Coast Conference opened the showcase up to local Metro New York squads. Performers included cheerleading squads from Adelphi, District of Columbia, LIU Post, Molloy, New York Institute of Technology, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Suffolk County Community College as well as dance teams from Adelphi, LIU Post, Molloy, Queens, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Suffolk County Community College. The step team from Molloy also performed.
Through ticket sales, raffles, pom-pom sales, and concessions, the East Coast Conference raised over $7,000 to donate to the foundation. The event has now raised over $22,000 for Make-A-Wish in its six-year history.
Dranoff wraped up his statements by saying, "Congratulations to all those schools and men and women who participated this year. It is really those students who help us raise money and awareness for this important cause. The enthusiasm they show and fun they have being part of the Spirit Showcase becomes contagious. We are very proud to be able to keep making this great event better each year. And, once again, Suffolk CCC stepped forward and gave us their gym for the program with coach Gina Caputo guiding her own teams and helping us organize another super event."