Petal Student Scores big for Petal Relay for Life

By HASKEL BURNS,

When Petal High School senior Victoria Sandoval began organizing the fifth annual Powder Puff flag football game, she was hoping to get more than 400 attendees to the game to benefit Petal Relay For Life.

As it turns out, her expectations were exceeded when the game – which was held recently at Panther Stadium – brought out hundreds of spectators to raise $2,400 through ticket sales for Relay, which is the fundraising arm of the American Cancer Society.

“As someone who has had family members go through the horrible stages of cancer, I’ve learned that it’s very hard to deal with, even just as a loving family member of someone,” said Sandoval, who serves as treasurer for the Petal High School Student Council. “Raising money through a fun event like Powder Puff to help those going through such a difficult time blessed me beyond measure.

“It gave me joy to know that others would benefit.”

The game featured girls from Petal’s 9th through 12th grades competing on the gridiron, who were coached by players from the high school football team. The field was separated at the 50-yard line to allow 9th and 11th graders to play on one side and 10th and 12th graders to play on the other side.

“Technologies like social media and mobile phones have created a generation that is better connected than ever before,” said Leesa Mitchell, former community development manager for the ACS South Region. “I believe this gives them incredible influence and potential.

“Volunteerism is a powerful way for our students to use their influence and potential to do great things. Through volunteerism, they will gain a strong sense of civic engagement and bring about positive transformational change in their communities. The American Cancer Society and Petal Relay For Life are very thankful for Victoria and the Petal School District.”

The Powder Puff football game was started in 2014, with proceeds going to a different organization almost every year. This was the second year in a row for the game to benefit Relay for Life.

For her efforts in helping to raise the funds, Sandoval was presented with a plaque from Relay For Life.

“It means a lot to me,” Sandoval said in a previous story. “I’ve had a lot of family members who have had cancer, so I know how it is to go and experience that.

“I want to be an oncologist’s nurse, so it really got my attention to help that organization.”

Petal High School principal Rob Knight said he’s proud that the school has students like Sandoval who show they care about others.

“The fact that she took this project on and coordinated it to help raise money for Relay For Life really says a lot about her character,” he said. “We also want to thank Ms. Kristine Partrick, a U.S. History teacher here at PHS, and the history department, for helping coordinate and supervise the event.

“We have so many students that go above and beyond to help our community, and this is just another example of that. We want to thank Victoria for leading this fundraiser, and for Dawn Tassin, a teacher at PHS and a cancer survivor, for going with Victoria on (local news) to help bring awareness to this cause.”

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