Wishing upon a net

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck High School faculty might have slammed students in a faculty versus student volleyball and badminton tournament last Thursday, but the real winners were two children with life-threatening diseases.

As part of her capstone project, NHS senior Andrea Neagu organized the “Wish Upon a Net” tournament to raise money for the Kids Wish Network.

The funds she raises will help send five-year-old McKenna, who suffers from mitochondrial DNA deletion syndrome, and three-year-old Aiden, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, to Disneyland and Disney World, respectively.

Participants and spectators in the tournament paid $4 each to get in the door. Neagu also sold pizza, donuts, yogurt, and candy at the event and wish stars to hang on the net.

Neagu said she wanted to raise awareness for a relatively unknown charity. She chose which children to sponsor by reading their biographies on the charity’s website.

“I fell in love with both of their stories and I couldn’t just pick one or the other, so I took both,” Neagu said. “I just chose the kids that I felt touched by.”

Neagu said she started planning the event at the end of September and had a lot of help from capstone coordinator Anthony Sorge and her capstone advisor, Tim Reilly.

Eight student teams and two faculty teams participated in the volleyball tournament and 16 student teams and two faculty teams competed in the badminton tournament.

“I was very happy that a lot of students are willing to participate,” Neagu said.

All the teams came up with creative names and some teams decorated matching T-shirts.

Neagu said she was glad everyone seemed to be having fun.

She said she didn’t have any specific goal for how much money she wanted to raise, but said any extra money beyond the cost of the trips could go towards the children’s family’s medical expenses.

Students and faculty competed in volleyball and badminton tournaments at Naugatuck High School as part of the 'Wish Upon a Net' fundraiser Nov. 17. Money collected at the event went to the Kids Wish Network, a nonprofit that grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions.