Park Scholars Launch Soccer Tournament to Raise Funds for Cancer Research

posted 2011.05.26

Kelly Cox ‘13, Josh Knight ‘13, and John Miller ‘13 have spent the better part of the last year turning an idea into a reality. In the process, the students landed sponsors, applied for status as a nonprofit organization, and recruited students to play in the inaugural Red and White Soccer Classic tournament they organized this spring – all in the name of cancer research.

“Kelly turned to me in October and said that we should host a small soccer tournament sometime in the future to benefit cancer research,” says Knight. “I told her that we should host it this spring instead of later, and we dove straight into it.”

The tournament was successful in engaging a diverse student population in a physical activity promoting camaraderie, fitness, and cancer awareness. Local businesses and organizations sponsored the tournament, which involved over 100 students, faculty, and community members.

The event raised nearly $1000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The organization was started in 1993 by ESPN and former NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano, and Cox, Knight, and Miller had the unique privilege of presenting the tournament proceeds to Valvano’s daughters. The foundation provides financial support for young scientists engaged in cancer research and gives 100 percent of direct cash donations and net event proceeds to research and related programs.

Red and White Soccer Classic Co-Founders Josh Knight ‘13 and Kelly Cox ‘13.

The students worked with Dr. John Griggs, Park Faculty Scholar for the Class of 2013. During their experience, the Park Scholars had the opportunity to hone their leadership and public relations skills, while working towards a greater good. “Overall, this tournament showed me how truly gratifying meaningful service can be,” said Cox. “Devoting all of oneself to a solitary cause can be exhausting at times, but at the end of the day, we made a difference.”

Cox is from Boca Raton, Florida, majoring in political science and natural resources. She has aspirations of working with the Environmental Protection Agency or serving as an environmental consultant for a private corporation or non-profit organization after attending law school.

Knight hails from Lynchburg, Virginia, and is majoring in civil engineering. He plans to apply his skills in the design and implementation processes in a civil engineering firm, but also desires to work with a non-profit organization after completing graduate school.

Miller is a native of Stuarts Draft, Virginia and is studying biomedical engineering. After graduate school, he will decide between several career options that range from working in a rehabilitation clinic to engaging in research and teaching at the university level.

Funding for materials and supplies to establish the Red and White Soccer Classic was provided, in part, by a Park Enrichment Grant. Park Enrichment Grants support Park Scholars engaged in professional and personal enrichment experiences designed to foster the development of scholarship, service, leadership, and character, as well as connect Scholars with faculty.