Alison Davey is used to succeeding. The New Mission junior is a BSA athlete, a star soccer and basketball player, and excels at academics -- all while tirelessly raising money to support cancer research.
In 2009, Davey was devastated upon hearing that her aunt in California was diagnosed with cancer and decided to do something about it.
“She’s my whole world,” Davey said. “I write about her in school and I text her every day to stay strong.
“Everything she does inspires me, and everything she does, I want to do. She’s the best.”
A recent visit with her aunt triggered her big idea to support cancer research.
“Seeing her was emotional and I was just like, ‘I have to do something,’ ” Davey said.
“With my guidance counselors, I set a goal of raising $1,000 for the cause from Oct. 13th to Nov. 13th. And then it just blew up.”
Because it was breast cancer awareness month, Davey decided that October was the perfect month to start a fundraiser. She baked brownies, cupcakes, and other goods every night to sell for a dollar the following day during her lunch period. She also handmade pink ribbons she sold, posted flyers, and provided her soccer team with pink shoelaces.
Then, she had a bigger idea.
“I decided if I reached my goal of raising $1,000 I would shave my head and donate it to locks of love,” she said.
As if shaving her head weren't courageous enough, she decided to do it in front of her entire school.
“I heard there would be a pep rally in November and everyone suggested I shave my head during it,” she said. “I’m not nervous about shaving it.
“It will grow back.”
With her hair braided in two, Davey walked into a packed gym ready to kick off the pep rally.
“Today, [Davey] will donate her beautiful hair to Locks of Love and is doing it with tremendous courage in front of us,” BCLA headmaster Brett Dickens said in her introduction. “We’re here to support Aly, but she’s the one giving us so much strength.”
Davey then took the stage to thank her classmates before her haircut.
“I’m proud to stand before you and say I raised $1,250 to support cancer research,” she said to a roaring crowd. “By shaving my head, my hair will be more than my everyday ponytail.
“It will provide security for a child with cancer, and that is a great thing.”
Davey’s brother, Joe Davey, a former BCLA student proceeded to shave her head in front of the audience that chanted “Aly!”
“I was a little overwhelmed, but she has such a great attitude,” said her mother, Catherine Davey. “She was like, ‘I’m doing it Mom!’ I’m very proud of her.”
After the shave, Davey’s soccer teammates sprayed her new haircut pink.
“I thought If I was going to do it I had to go all out and get people’s attention,” Davey said, triumphantly packaging her braids to deliver to Locks of Love. “It felt really good and I’m happy I did it.”
The New Mission girls were discouraged after losing 1-0 to East Boston in last week's city soccer semi-finals and wanted to make a come back in the MIAA Division 3 North tournament against Winthrop.
The Titans were not able to deliver, however, and lost, 5-0.
“I heard they have a strong middle,” New Mission coach Kerry Haczyk said prior to the game. “And a very strong sweeper. We’re going to do everything we can to challenge that.”
The game started looking like New Mission could have a chance until the 15-minute mark.
Freshman forward Holli Benson sent an excellent pass on the ground from the left side of the goal to senior forward Jessica Dowson to score in the lower left corner.
Only five minutes later, Vikings senior midfielder Liana Ferullo sent a successful shot into the upper right corner.
Vikings senior forward Renee LoPresti kept the goals coming, five minutes later, after redirecting sophomore midfielder Carly O’Keefe’s corner kick.
“We didn’t know what to expect coming in but we pushed ourselves,” LoPresti said. “It was a great game and a great fight.”
By the end of the first half, the Vikings were up 3-0.
“We knew it would be a tough game coming in,” New Mission junior defender Alison Davey said. “The coaches really helped us step it up and regain our confidence at half time.”
Upon hearing Titans coach Kerry Haczyk’s encouraging words, New Mission stormed onto the field in the second half in hopes of a goal. The Titans had more shots on goal than the first and upped its defense, but could not manage to score.
Meanwhile for the Vikings, LoPresti and Ferullo both scored again resulting in a 5-0 victory.
“We hoped for the win,” Vikings coach Tracey Martucci said. “But you never know because we didn’t see them play all season.”
“We struggled all season with scoring so it was nice to get five to boost our confidence.”
Winthrop will move forward to the quarterfinals against St. Mary’s on Tuesday at 4 pm at Manning field in Lynn.
While that means New Mission’s season has come to an end at 13-2-1, the Titans are proud of a successful first year transition into the city league.
“This being our first year and combining two schools into one,” Haczyk said, “I didn’t expect such a great turnout. I couldn’t believe that we got this far and I am so proud of them.”
Photo courtesy of America Scores Boston
The South End was abuzz with soccer enthusiasts of all ages to celebrate at the 2012 SCORES Celebration Thursday night with special guest, U.S. women’s national soccer team star Heather O’Reilly. Students, athletes and Boston public school supporters gathered at the high-energy gala at Cyclorama for a night of soccer activities, poetry performances and food from local restaurants.
The faces of Boston public school athletes lit up as they received pointers from O'Reilly in the kid's clinic that kicked off the event. The olympic gold champion enthusiastically assisted each player in shooting and passing drills and coached them in a scrimmage.
“I've been involved for close to seven years," O'Reilly said. "I fell in love with the program and its uniqueness. I was an education major in college so it sort of blended together everything I find important. When I heard America SCORES was [in Boston] I jumped at the opportunity to help.”
O'Reilly also spoke about competing in the London olympics, signed autographs and posed for photos.
O’Reilly, New England Revolution team President Brian Bilello and New England Revolution broadcaster Brad Feldman spoke about their love of America SCORES and the impact it’s making on students.
“It’s a great organization,” Bilello said. “The fact that they’re combining soccer and education is great. It’s made a lot of sense for a long time for the Revs to be involved.”
After the soccer events, Lael Watson, a fifth-grader at Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, made a poetry performance.
“My poem ‘I Am’ is about where I’m from and who I am,” Watson said. “I’m nervous, but I have a lot of confidence. I’m really happy I was chosen.”
Coach Mark Salzillo was thrilled and grateful that SCORES invited the Orchard Garden School.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to meet professional soccer players and create the idea of soccer at a bigger level for them, because they’re all beginners,” Salzillo said.
The celebration was provided by America SCORES Boston, a non-profit organization dedicated to help urban youth attain life skills, literacy, and health through soccer.
“America SCORES is a very special organization because it gives kids the platform to believe in themselves,” O’Reilly said. “Keep it up America SCORES because you’re doing fantastic things.”
For the boys:
East Boston at Malden at 3:45 p.m, Friday.
East Boston just gets stronger by the week. The undefeated Jets have dominated every match this season, most recently shutting out South Boston, 8-0. Freshman keeper Edwin Avelar has only surrendered one goal thus far, to Boston International.
East Boston’s rein may be over on Friday, however, as they are playing outside of the city. Malden also has a strong team with only one loss against Somerville.
West Roxbury vs. Boston English at Ceylon at 3:30 p.m, Monday.
Neither West Roxbury nor Boston English are off to a strong start this season, as both are still in search of their first victory. West Roxbury struggled against CASH in the one game they’ve played so far, losing 10-1.
English has played three matches and at least had three goals against mighty Brighton last week. It looks like English has this one set, but West Roxbury will definitely put up a fight.
Snowden vs. O’Bryant at Madison Park at 3:30 p.m., Thursday.
Snowden has had a weak presence in the league so far, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they played last Friday. The team dominated the usually strong Charlestown, winning the match, 4-0. This was the team’s first win of the season, and it’s likely they’ll keep that momentum going this week.
O’Bryant has also had a successful week, even after playing outside the city. They shut out CASH, 6-0, as well as Revere, 3-0, on Saturday.
Coming out of two equally nice wins, the match on Thursday is sure to be a thriller.
For the girls:
New Mission vs. Brighton at Portsmouth field at 3:30 p.m., Monday.
This will be the best girls game of the week by far. New Mission is this season’s team to watch and Brighton is trying to recover that title.
New Mission is still undefeated while Brighton lost their first game against Latin Academy 6-0. Brighton won both games against South Boston and Snowden and there is no way they’re going down again without a fight.
O’Bryant vs. Dorchester at Franklin Field #2 at 3:30 p.m., Monday.
Both O’Bryant and Dorchester have lost just once thus far, and both teams will do what they can to ensure they come out victorious.
O’Bryant had a stellar week, shutting out CASH, 10-0, and Burke, 4-0. It’s likely that they’ll be using this game against Dorchester to get them ready for Mt. Alverania on Tuesday.
Although the game is slightly in O’Bryant’s favor, Dorchester shouldn’t be counted out. They’re coming from Friday’s thrilling 3-2 win over Boston English and will be sure to provide a high-energy match.
East Boston at Charlestown at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday.
Charlestown is not happy with its tie against South Boston last Wednesday. The team has yet to win a match, but if their first win is against East Boston they are definitely a team to watch.
East Boston lost 7-0 to North Quincy Tuesday but came back victorious against West Roxbury on Friday, winning 7-2. If they come into the game against Charlestown with the spirits of Friday, it’s likely they’ll be the winners.
The stars made their debut as the Boston public school soccer season got underway.
For the boys
Rossel Cacho, Brighton: The captain and senior forward had two gorgeous assists as well as two goals in Brighton’s 10-0 shut out of Snowden. His intense speed and fancy footwork did not go unnoticed.
Elmar Ventura, East Boston: The senior midfielder is on fire so far with one goal and one assist in the team’s first win against Dorchester, 2-0. He scored again in the Jets’ second win against Boston International, 2-1.
Kevin O’Neill, Latin Academy: While Latin Academy lost 6-0 against Dedham, coach Dennis Allen believes the score does not reflect his players effort. O’Neill, a forward who played multiple positions in the game, is one of them. Even in defeat the sophomore excelled and put a stop to many opposing players.
Stanley Gourge, Snowden: Even though Snowden was dominated by Brighton 10-0 last week, the Quincy Upper keeper helped hold the team together. A newcomer to the sport, he had 11 saves in the game.
And the girls
Keena Nicholas, O’Bryant: The forward is only a freshman but was the star of the show in O’Bryant’s 6-0 shut out of Charlestown. She scored one goal in each half in her varsity debut.
Emma Lama, Brighton: The senior midfielder scored the two goals in the Bengals' first win of the season against West Roxbury, 2-1.
Lyne Justal, CASH:Coach Amy Offret nominated Justal for “pulling the team together” this past week. Due to this, the forward was chosen as team captain.
Ruth Rivas, East Boston:The sophomore forward had two goals in the Jets’ first win, a 4-0 blanking of Madison Park.
Here are the three games to watch in boys’ city soccer this week.
No. 1 -- Brighton vs. Madison Park at Madison Park, Monday, 3:30 p.m.
With two of the strongest teams in the league going head to head, this match may leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Madison Park is determined for a three-peat this season and Brighton is determined to put a stop to that.
Brighton forfeited their first game but dominated Snowden, 10-0, last week, proving to the rest of the league that they’re a team to watch.
No. 2 -- Snowden vs. Dorchester at White Stadium, Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.
After losing to East Boston in their first game, Dorchester’s confidence was lifted when they shut out C.A.S.H. 7-0 last Wednesday.
What looks like an easy win for Dorchester may just be the opposite. While Snowden was dominated by Brighton last Friday, 10-0, coach Joao Barros is determined for his team to make a come back.
No. 3 -- East Boston vs. South Boston at South Boston, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
East Boston is on fire and has yet to be put out. The Jets beat Dorchester, 2-0, on Monday as well as Boston International, 2-1, on Thursday, proving that they’re a top contender in the league.
Meanwhile, South Boston did not play their first game but won a close match to Boston English, 4-3. It will be interesting to see whether the team will be defeated or put an end the Jets winning streak.
Here are the three games to watch for girls’ city soccer this week.
No. 1 -- Brighton vs. South Boston at South Boston #2, Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.
It seems the mighty have fallen. Last Tuesday Brighton suffered a devastating loss to Latin Academy, 6-0, in the season opener. However the team rose again on Thursday against West Roxbur,y 2-1, in an attempt to prove that they’re still a team to be reckoned with.
We’ll see whether the usual champions can make a comeback on their third game -- or surrender to Southie.
No. 2 -- Charlestown vs. New Mission at Reservation, Monday, 3:30 p.m.
New Mission is another team that has yet to be defeated. Their first win ended 2-1 in a close match against East Boston last Tuesday. The second was not so close -- they shut out Dorchester, 5-0, last Thursday.
Charlestown suffered a disappointing loss on their season opener to O’Bryant, 6-0, and are looking for vengeance. A win against the so far unstoppable New Mission could make for a complete turnaround for Charlestown.
No. 3 -- East Boston vs. Boston English at Boston English, Monday, 3:30 p.m.
Boston English forfeited the season opener to Madison Park last Monday and lost to Dedham, 6-0, last Friday. The underdogs are looking for a comeback. A win against a team like East Boston will show the league that they’re a team that shouldn’t be counted out.
East Boston is just as determined to win with one loss already under their belt. The team has a better outlook after shutting out Madison Park, 4-0, last Friday.
With both teams fiercely depending on this win, it’s a definite toss up.
Standing in a circle on the first day of football practice at Ross Field on Aug. 20, the first-ever football players at New Mission High learned the difference between jumping jacks and Titan Jacks.
“No, no, that’s so soft now, when we say it, say it like you mean it,” screamed assistant coach Jeff Anderson, interrupting the drill moments after head coach Michael Pittman Forman explained how to spell out T-I-T-A-N-S while doing jumping jacks in sync.
“Come on fellas, this sets the tone, you are the first team from this school, let them know.”
The 13-players in the circle didn’t get past ‘I’ when Anderson interrupted again.
"This is the foundation of what we do,” Anderson said before the players tried and failed once more before finally getting it down.
Learning how to do jumping jacks in unison might not seem like much. But it truly was the seeds of a high school football program for the 14-year-old pilot school that is no stranger to starting from scratch.
This fall, the school moved from its old building in Mission Hill to the former Hyde Park Education Complex.
“We try to give a total high school experience at New Mission High School and for some reason it doesn’t have same the same feel unless you have a football team," New Mission athletic director and basketball coach Cory McCarthy said. "And when you have a football team you have kids buying into a system; football is not an individual sport so everyone has to play a part.
“It’s actually one of our biggest accomplishments to put a football team on the field. It signifies that a small school, even though we’re going to be combined with [Boston Community Leadership Academy] can get anything done if you have the right kids to commit to it.”
Since he started the school’s basketball program 11 years ago, McCarthy has won one state championship in girls’ basketball and two with the boys’ team.
“My thing is have a lot of patience, don’t listen to what other people are saying because they are the people saying we may not win a game for six years, those things fuel what we do,” McCarthy said. “I was told by people in BPS ‘Why should we get a basketball team, you may not ever win anything’ and look what happened.”
McCarthy said fifth-year headmaster, Naia Wilson, has been ‘instrumental’ in securing the team and said she is a ‘visionary’ when it comes to the school’s athletic department.
Pittman Forman said the school’s basketball culture will help nurture the football program.
“You need a total sports school; totally sports crazy, fanatical,” Pittman Forman said. "Working with Cory has been a pleasure … The thing he told me is if you build it they will come. It will take time, but it will come. Me and my staff are looking forward to the challenge of building the program from scratch.”
Pittman Forman is no stranger to building a football program in Boston.
He was the head coach at Cathedral High for five seasons but did not coach the team last year when the team's go-ahead touchdown was called back in the final minutes of the Division 4A Super Bowl due to a controversial excessive celebration call. The team's quarterback briefly raised his arm before scoring and a national controversy ensued after Cathedral lost the game.
“It was in rebuilding stages, not that great,” Pittman Foreman said of the condition of the Cathedral program when he took it over. “I had to make some changes. I made some changes for good. Last year, they were in the Super Bowl.”
Pittman Forman said he learned many lessons during his tenure at Cathedral that he can draw on in building the New Mission program.
“The big difference is you have no idea what you’re going to have for athletes even though you hear trickling’s of this that and the other,” said Pittman Foreman, who spent last season as Newton South’s defensive coordinator. “The practice facility, equipment, new uniforms, everything is in baby stages, everything is like a newborn. You have to nurture a newborn.”
Not everyone on Pittman Forman’s new team is a football newbie though. Boston Community Leadership Academy, which was part of Brighton's team last year, is now housed in the Hyde Park Education Complex and will contribute players to New Mission’s team.
And for the last few years New Mission has sent players to Boston English’s football team. At least four of the former English players are now playing for their own school.
“It helps because we’re going to be able to teach them, make them better, we have more experiences then most of them,” said junior fullback and linebacker Marcus Watson, who played for English last year. “We can help them get to the place we are and help them build on each other.”
Senior quarterback Darien Amado, who played for English the last two years, said he does feel bad about leaving his former English teammates.
“Those are also my brothers who I played with and fought in the trenches with them,” he said. “And the coaches, they propped me up and helped me become the football player I am. So I do owe them a lot of things but when we face them I’m going to have to use what they taught me against them.”
Coaches around the league, however, are saying that New Mission could be good out of the gate, given their coaching experience and the athletic culture at the school.
Pittman Foreman, who has about 26 players heading into the season, isn't buying into any hearsay until his team steps onto the field for the first time against Dorchester at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at White Stadium.
But that doesn't mean he never thinks about what it would feel like to win four or five games this season.
“It would be special,” he said. “And that’s what our expectations are. But once again, it depends on who and what and where we are.”
The six Boston Marathon runners raising money for the Boston Scholar Athlete Program have received words of encouragement from friends, family and colleagues during training.
But they never expected a pep talk from Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
“This weekend is marathon weekend, I want to congratulate the runners who are running the Boston Marathon for the Boston Scholar Athlete Program, I’ll be watching you,” Menino said during the first-ever Boston Scholar Athlete Zone Party on the floor of the TD Garden on Tuesday night.
The gala raised $1.9 million for the program which has established a dedicated, staffed learning center for athletes inside each of Boston’s 19 public high schools. The program was co-founded by Menino and Suffolk Construction CEO and Chairman, John Fish.
“That was great, I didn’t expect that at all," BSA Academic Associate Colin Campbell said. "To have him recognize us meant a lot to us. Even though it was at such a big event, where people are putting a lot more into it than we are to fund raise, and [for him to] recognize us along with everyone there to support our program overall was great.”
Besides Campbell, Nicole Reither of Swampscott, Michelle Nielsen of Falls Church, Va., Kate Hensley of Quincy, Joseph Cappellano of South Boston and Liz Collins of Boston are the other BSA or Suffolk Construction employees running.
So far they have raised about $23,000 for the BSA.
“Every one of the runners for our team has a connection to BSA which is unique,” Campbell said. “I think that’s something you don’t see in a lot of other charity teams. They don’t have that connection. So for us explaining BSA [to donors] has been great."
Each runner has a month after the marathon to raise a minimum $5,000 or the difference comes out of their pocket. And in these tough times many charity runners have had a hard time finding donors to reach their goals.
Joseph Cappellano, a senior facilitator for BSA who works with athletes at Boston Latin School, said it can be tough to raise money since they all know each other and are all raising money for the same cause. But he also said they’ve come up with creative ways to raise money such as conducting a March Madness bracket.
“Most of us have reached [$5,000] or are close but obviously our goal is not to stop at $20,000 but go beyond it,” Cappellano said.
The South Boston native said his friends and family are receptive to helping Boston Public School athletes.
“As soon as I tell them we’re trying to revamp high school sports in Boston they are kind of like ‘I wish they had that when I was there,’ ” he said. “So people are very, very receptive.”
Another challenge is the fact that while the group trains together, Hensley is the only one with marathon experience.
“It’s interesting, we were all athletes in high school and college and we all have old injuries and they start to come back to haunt you,” Cappellano said.
On Monday, the group plans to start the race together and then branch off as the race progresses. They hope to all run under four hours.
“It’s a little up in the air,” Cappellano said when asked what time he is shooting for. “Before Tuesday would be nice.”
For more information on the BSA runners, go to their fundraising website.
About Boston Public Schools Sports BlogMore »
- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Zolan Kanno-Youngs -- A former captain of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School football team and a current second-year Ujima Scholar at Northeastern University, Kanno-Youngs is the color commentator of the mens basketball team and a writer for Northeastern's campus newspaper, the Huntington News. He joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at KannoYoungs.Globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @KannoYoungs.