Community Shows Sumo-Sized Support For Family

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MacArthur High School students battled it out in sumo suits to raise money for a community member in need.

The Levittown community gathered together for the Jonas E. Salk Middle School and General Douglas MacArthur High School wrestling teams annual Sumo to Support fundraiser to support a community member in need on Jan. 11. Through their efforts, the teams raised $4,000.

This was the third year that the middle school and high school wrestling teams hosted the event for a good cause. This year the focus was on helping Tara Dougherty, a mother of three MacArthur High School wrestlers and two MacArthur High School graduates, who is undergoing cancer treatments. The whole family was present for the special evening where they were introduced by MacArthur wrestling coach Rob Paletta.

“This fundraiser is to support one of our own,” he said. “This is how the Levittown community comes together.”

The first round featured Salk and MacArthur staff members dressed in sumo suits who took to the mat to face off in a friendly competition of who could take the other one down. MacArthur High School graduate and current UFC fighter Gian Villante was the special guest referee for the competition and students held up signs and cheered in support for their favorite teachers.

Leading up to the event, students participated in raffles to help raise money by picking the jar of who they thought would win each round. After each match, the sumo winner would pick a raffle ticket from their jar and that student would win a prize. Following the first round, the MacArthur varsity and JV wrestling teams wrestled against Mepham High School.

Student versus student matches concluded the evening as participants challenged their friends in the sumo suits. These students represented clubs and sport teams including football, cheer, volleyball, band, lacrosse, drama club and the school store.

“We thank God every day for the community and how they have come together,” said Tara Dougherty’s husband John Dougherty. “It’s really outstanding to see how supportive and helpful everyone has been.”

—Submitted by the Levittown School District

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