DECA Raises Money and Awareness for Down Syndrome

During special abilities awareness week, three DECA students hosted an event during the first boy’s basketball game at half-time.



Joshua Campbell, pictured above, was the only student to score a half-court shot.

During special abilities awareness week, DECA became involved in spreading awareness and support for their community awareness project, Dunking for Down Syndrome. Led by Andrew Pope, Mallika Bhat, and Anna Adiaconitei, the group put on a large event Wednesday night at the basketball home opener, where there was a 50/50 raffle and a half court shot contest. 

The idea to bring awareness towards down syndrome was particularly important to one member, Andrew Pope. “We chose to do this project because of my personal connection, since I have a brother with Down Syndrome, and I just want to help out more within the community,” Pope said. 

The events of the night were quickly underway and received large support from the community. According to Mallika Bhat, all proceeds from the 50/50 raffle and the half-court shot were donated to the Down Syndrome Association of Virginia. 

At the basketball game, there was a table with ribbons for supporters to wear, information about SAWW, and the opportunity to join their cause. During halftime, the dance team performed and were quickly followed up by the half-court shot challenge. 

By the end of the half, only one student, Joshua Campbell, scored from half court. Over $50 was collected from the half court shot event, and $264 was collected for the 50/50 raffle. After the third quarter ended, the group announced the winner for the 50/50 raffle. It was later announced that the winner donated back their winnings to the DSA of VA. 

The winner of the 50/50 raffle was Sarah Miller, a parent of a senior on the basketball team. “I was happy to make a contribution to a wonderful cause— and had no thoughts of actually winning anything.  So to my surprise when my number was called, I felt so lucky to be able to contribute more to such a worthy organization.  To win an awesome pair of socks was just a great bonus,” Miller said. “We were actually unaware that the dance team [was] also performing at halftime, So that was something that they weren’t aware of, which [was] great for them to have to deal with this wrench thrown in,” Mrs. Eifler, one of the DECA sponsors, said. 

“I really hope [students] take away that there are a lot of families who have experienced different things and that it’s important for us to help guide them and aid them in their process,” Pope said.