Since the first week of school, seniors Hannah Satterlee, Maddy Rich and Molly Tidrick had been thinking of and developing a concept for their DECA project. With few guidelines given for the project, they decided they wanted to do something fun for the students at East. They also wanted to honor their friend Bryan Barrow, who died in a car crash last spring
Seeing how well SHARE’s dodgeball tournament went in the fall, the girls thought having some sort of competition or sporting event would draw a good crowd. First, the girls were thinking of doing a run for Bryan, then possibly an indoor soccer tournament. But when both of those ideas fell through because of weather and school regulations, they decided on a wiffleball tournament.
“When we were choosing a DECA project, we knew we wanted to do something that the students at Shawnee Mission East could relate to personally,” Satterlee said, “and we knew we wanted to incorporate Bryan’s Way somehow.”
The tournament will take place Jan. 20 and 22 from 5-10 p.m. in the main and auxiliary gyms.
There is a $10 entry fee per person with all profits going to the Bryan’s Way Foundation, whichwas started last spring after Bryan’s death, with partial money going to scholarships and the rest donated to various foundations under Bryan’s name.
Along with participating in the wiffleball games, students will get the chance to hear Bryan’s mother Anne Peterson speak about text-free driving. Peterson will be speaking to kick off the first night on the 20th.
Senior Adam Levin, one of Barrow’s best friends, will also play with his band Menlo at the tournament. Being friends with Bryan and neighbors with the Barrows since childhood, he was happy to get the chance to play for such a good cause.
“I was excited to play, it’s always fun to play live in front of people.” Levin said. “Especially when it’s my friends and it’s twice as good that it’s for Bryan.”
This tournament will be Menlo’s first live performance. They will play for 30 minutes on the first day of the tournament.
For some students at East, the event is just another competition with classmates. But for others like junior CC Creidenberg, it hits home to know that he’s supporting Bryan’s foundation while competing with friends and getting his mind off school work.
“I think it’s a fun way to support [the Bryan’s Way Foundation],” Creidenberg said. “When you know someone who’s died, even if he’s not here anymore, you can help others through him or through the foundation.”
Peterson hopes to get the message of text-free driving across to students and teachers. In her speech, she plans to talk about how students should not take chances because one mistake can be life-changing. The girls believe Peterson will really make an impact when she speaks at the tournament and hope students will listen.
“If you’re looking at your phone or texting, it’s not worth it,” Rich said. “If you make one mistake that could be a huge life-changing event. People need to concentrate on being smarter when you drive because it can really affect other people’s lives.”
The girls want this to be a fun experience for the students at East as well as a way to remember their friend Bryan. If death is mentioned, they all feel it may reinforce Peterson’s powerful message.
“Think about what is in our control and what isn’t in our control,” Peterson said. “And for what is in our control, then let’s make healthy, right decisions and not take chances…We may think ‘Hey it’s not gonna happen to me, [but] it can happen to you. Bryan’s story could be your story, so do what you can to prevent it.”