When Indiana Area Senior High School students Ben Manecke and Molly Masterson decided to do a fundraiser for a student in need, they weren’t expecting to hear from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now, these two seniors are planning what may end up being one of the school’s biggest events of the year.
Manecke, president of the school’s Key Club, and Masterson, Student Government Association president, took the initiative to hold a fundraiser for a ninth-grader who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. After the planning process began, they got word from a teacher, Donald Bowers, that some of the Steelers would be willing to help.
On March 5, some of the professional football players will face Indiana Area Senior High teachers in what they’ve called “Steelers Shoot-Out Cancer.”
Who from the team will be playing won’t be known until right before the event.
“Originally we just wanted to have any kind of event,” Masterson said, referring to an event that would benefit the ninth-grader. “All of a sudden a call was made and the Steelers were planning to come.”
Half of the proceeds from this event, sponsored by First Commonwealth Bank, will go to the student’s family, and the other half to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
“I figured an event like this would be a big help to him and his family,” Manecke said. “It’ll be a lot of fun, too, for everyone.”
First Commonwealth is just as excited as the students to be a part of the event, according to one bank official.
“As a community bank headquartered in Indiana, we pride ourselves on supporting local organizations that make a difference, like the Indiana High School Key Club,” said Molly Russell, an assistant vice president at the bank.
Beyond a financial donation the bank is making, Russell said there will also be giveaways for the crowd.
“Greg Sipos, senior vice president of corporate banking, will be a referee with his daughter, an IHS alum, and several First Commonwealth employees will be in attendance supporting the Indiana High School faculty,” Russell said.
Manecke, Masterson and their respective clubs have been working hard on the event, finding items to be raffled off, designing and hanging up fliers, and getting ready for the big night. They’ve collected Terrible Towels, T-shirts, blankets and other collectible items, Masterson said. In addition, the Future Business Leaders of America have made a monetary donation to help with the cost of the event.
“Jack Ham even agreed to sign a bunch of the items, too, so we’re raffling them off,”Masterson said.
The students are excited about the event, mainly because of the benefits it reaps for their fellow IHS student.
“It supports not only a local student in our community, but anyone who goes to the Children’s Hospital that needs some sort of help,” Masterson said.
At this point, about 10 teachers are set to play in the game. Manecke thinks that teacher and football coach Mark Zilinskas will be the most entertaining to watch play against the professional team.
“We’re all kind of looking forward to seeing our teachers get destroyed by the Steelers,” Masterson said.
Tickets for the game are $7 at the door or ahead of time at Indiana Senior High School’s main office.Doors will open at 7 p.m. with tip-off at 8 p.m. at the high school gym.
“This event will really make a big impact,” Manecke said. “And, how often do you get to see the Steelers play basketball?”