Gators were made to swim for light


Sister Lynn Winsor

Junior Allegra Wilga reflects on her success in swimming 100 yards for the Swim for the Light fundraiser at Brophy’s pool on December 6, 2020.

Throughout the year, Xavier’s Gators constantly proved loyalty to goodness in kindhearted and thoughtful actions such as donating cans for food drives, volunteering in humanitarian organizations and creating websites to help those in need. 

To no one’s surprise, Xavier’s students went above and beyond once again in their mission to raise funds for Valleywise Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization that strives to aid people with behavioral challenges.

On December 6, 2020, Xavier’s swimmers participated in the Swim for the Light fundraiser, organized by Kelly Scott ‘21, swim team captain. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness for behavioral health and funds for the Valleywise Health Foundation in order to continue treating patients regardless of their financial position.

Scott said her inspiration to help Valleywise Health Foundation came from reading stories concerning increases in behavioral health challenges during the pandemic and from personal experiences with close friends. 

“At that point it became very real to me that there’s a lot of individuals who struggle with this and that it is very prevalent and not something that’s just a one time case. I wanted to do something to help and I’ve been swimming for twelve years, so the first thing that came to me was, ‘Why don’t I do something swimming related?’” said Scott. 

As a result, Scott partnered with Valleywise Health Foundation and presented their idea to Sister Lynn Winsor, who immediately thought it was a great idea. 

Anything that Xavier can do to help, we’d be doing that for her. I got permission from the diocese, the principal and the president. They all said it was a great idea. I thought it was a wonderful project. It was like she saw the problem, came up with a solution, went through all the hoops to get it done and it came to fruition,” said Winsor.

To take part in this event, participants had to swim 100 yards and were encouraged to donate. After swimming, participants who donated or raised at least $15 received a plastic cap and a shirt.

The fundraiser took place at Brophy College Preparatory’s pool and included both Xavier and Brophy swimmers. Seton Catholic High School also participated, but swam at Seton. 

Other members of the community also participated in the event by sending videos of themselves swimming the necessary 100 yards and by donating money. National swim champion Amy Bilquist and Olympian Matt Grevers also participated virtually.

Due to COVID-19, the swim teams were divided into groups so that there were only four people swimming at the same time. Each swimmer on Xavier’s team donated at least $15 for this cause through Give Lively.

The fundraiser was extended through December 31, giving other members of the community  opportunities to donate and swim for this cause. 

“The concept of it is amazing and I am thankful to have gotten to be a part of it. Mental health is an extremely important topic, especially in teens right now because many people are struggling with it and they need to know that they are not alone. People are here for them. It is something that should be paid attention to and talked about more openly so that people are more comfortable sharing their struggles without fear of judgment,” said sophomore swimmer Waverly Bagley.