The Claire Marie Volleyball Game 2022


Mimi Davis, Staff Writer

This year, the annual Claire Marie Volleyball Game was able to return in honor of Claire Marie Wagonhurst ’15. For those who don’t know, Claire was diagnosed with melanoma the summer before her freshman year of high school at NDP, at the age of 14. She fought hard for three years, but tragically she passed away in October of her senior year, the day after she found out she had been accepted to two colleges for design. Before getting officially diagnosed, doctors dismissed the possibility of skin cancer because of her young age. There is a misconception that young people are unable to get melanoma or skin cancer because they are “immune” to the effects of the sun.  This misconception is the basis of why the Claire Marie Foundation was started. Established by parents Marianne and Rocky Wagonhurst, and older sister Hillary, the Claire Marie Foundation strives to prevent adolescent and young adult melanoma, through awareness and education on ways to protect their skin from the sun.

On Saturday, October 18th, NDP’s varsity volleyball team went head to head with the Calvert Hall team. Although the game was hosted at Calvert Hall, NDP students were not hesitant to come out and support not only the school, but also the Claire Marie Foundation. The NDP Blazers student section was full of people wearing coral (Claire’s favorite color and signature of the foundation) and overall excitement for the return of the tradition. The first set was a hard fight for the NDP team and lasted quite a while, but in the end they were able to pull out a win over Calvert Hall. After the first set, things were looking good for the NDP. They were up 1-0 against Calvert Hall, but the second set was no shorter than the first. Putting all of their effort forward, NDP had a long and tough set, but unfortunately they still lost. Between the second and third sets, a contest was held for people in the crowd to win free NDP or Calvert Hall merchandise. To enter, participants paid a minimum of one dollar that would be donated to the Claire Marie Foundation. To win, contestants needed to serve a volleyball over the net, and hit a piece of merchandise on the other side. Most of the crowd participated in the challenge, whether they were volleyballers or not, but only a few were able to successfully serve the ball over and win a prize. With both teams having one set under their belts, they were eager and ready to finally start the third set. With a very close game leading up to this point, of course, the third set was no shorter or simpler than the other two. It seemed as if every time NDP got a point, Calvert Hall would come back and score one right after. After a very long and hard fought set, NDP had one last point they would need to get in order to win the whole game. It was the Blazers turn to with the ball, and with a beautiful serve from the senior team captain, Calvert Hall was unable to return it, and NDP won the game! The entire Blazer student section instantly flooded the court and ecstatically cheered for the team. A win for NDP and Claire was the perfect way to welcome back this beloved tradition.

The Claire Marie Foundation does fantastic work to help educate young adults on how to protect their skin from the sun as well as other factors and prevent skin cancer. The Claire Marie Volleyball Game was an exciting and fun way to raise awareness of Claire’s story and the foundation. Every dollar that was donated throughout the game, will no doubt help the foundation do even more amazing work. It is always rewarding to win a sports game, but knowing this game was in support of an NDP sister and the Claire Marie Foundation, made it mean so much more.