Trinity-Pawling Spike Ball Tournament

Passion-based learning is central to Senior Independent Projects (SIP) at Trinity-Pawling. From start to finish, the SIP process encourages students to be curious, ambitious, and creative as they pursue a personal interest or passion. Matt Dow ’19 and Connor McKay ’19 did just that.

For their SIPs this year, Dow and McKay worked together to organize and host a Spike Ball tournament to benefit Matthew’s Hearts of Hope (MHOH). Founded by Marie Hatcher, Matthew’s mom, the mission of MHOH is to raise awareness of the number one birth defect in children: congenital heart defects (CHD).

The MHOH organization – and the family behind it – both hold a special place in Dow’s heart. “About four years ago, my sister was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease,” explained Dow. “After one of her surgeries, Matthew Hatcher (of MHOH) was in the next room over. He and my sister soon became friends and my family stayed closely connected to the Hatchers.”

Marie and Matthew Hatcher visited campus in the fall to share a presentation with the Trinity-Pawling community about congenital heart diseases. Raising awareness of CHD, however, did not stop there for Dow and McKay. “Many people don’t understand how serious CHD can be in young children,” Dow shared. “We knew that hosting a Spike Ball tournament would bring a lot of people together for the cause and help them gain a better understanding of CHD and Matthew’s organization.”

The logistics of organizing the tournament presented a few challenges to the duo along the way, but with determination and some faculty guidance, they found success. The Spike Ball tournament was held on Friday, January 25th in the Smith Field House. “It ended up being a 20-team tournament with 2 players on each team,” shared McKay. “It was a great turnout.” With team registration fees and donations throughout the event, Dow and McKay raised over $250 for Matthew’s Hearts of Hope. Even better – they played Spike Ball alongside Matthew Hatcher himself.

“The tournament was very successful and everybody had a great time,” Dow concluded. “We’d like to thank everyone who participated and helped make it happen. It means so much!”

by Emma Christiantelli