Badminton prepares for annual Birdie Bash

NT hosts fundraiser to support Corbin’s Legacy

Rebecca Lee

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The badminton teams will show a fun time for a good cause at the Fifteenth Annual Birdie Bash.

On Apr. 17, from 5 to 6:30 PM, the players of the freshman, JV, and varsity badminton teams will be stationed in the gyms.

Any student or faculty member will have the opportunity to challenge any player to a 15-minute match for only five dollars. Those who do not wish to play can simply make donations and cheer on others.

“Birdie Bash is really fun because it’s a fundraiser where our team members’ families and friends come to challenge us, so they get a chance to experience competitive badminton while also helping us support a [good cause],” explained senior Julia Matyjas, co-captain of the varsity team.

When the badminton teams first began the tradition of the Birdie Bash fifteen years ago, they chose to donate to research on multiple sclerosis, a cause that they cared for personally.

“An assistant badminton coach had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so that was the cause that we took on. A couple of years ago, she stopped coaching because of the disease, and she thanked us for all of our years of service,” explained Assistant Athletic Director and Badminton Head Coach Deborah Ofcky.

Both last year and this year, the badminton teams chose to contribute all proceeds to Corbin’s Legacy.

Although Corbin’s Legacy does different work, the cause remains deeply personal for Ofcky.

“A few years ago, I taught a young lady who played golf at Glenbrook North, and my husband was her golf coach. Her mother, who I have been very good friends with for twenty five years, started Corbin’s Legacy,” said Ofcky.

As its name suggests, this organization, which is centered in Phoenix, Chicago, and Harlem, seeks to continue the legacy of Corbin Leafman.

As a school teacher she “made it her mission to never let a child go hungry.  She was known for always walking through the lunch line holding up a $20 bill to make sure that the cafeteria lady knew that none of her students were to go without a hot meal,” according to their webpage.

Corbin’s Legacy works to address the needs of children whose families cannot afford supplies, meals, and even medical attention.

Joan Leafman, director of Corbin’s Legacy, explained, “We have assisted children nationally with every kind of help you can imagine. Food, medical exams, eye glasses, medications.”

Members of the badminton teams feel passionately about using their positions to support such a remarkable cause. Matyjas said, “We live in an area that’s generally very well off and I think it’s important to give back to others and the community through organizations like Corbin’s Legacy.”

Although Corbin’s Legacy works with a number of other institutions and groups, “I personally appreciate the hope, optimism, and commitment to making change for good that [these] high school students have,” said Leafman.

Birdie Bash brings together students, faculty members, and family members both within and outside of the New Trier community to perform service work.

“Last year, I played Principal Denise Dubravec,” recounted varsity co-captain Caroline Christopher.

Last year, New Trier badminton also challenged other Central Suburban League teams, all of whom also donated.

Other New Trier athletes can also contribute. “the JV boys tennis team came to challenge our varsity team at Birdie Bash last year. It was fun to play each other and show them what badminton is really like,” said Matyjas.

This night of games is fun and even competitive. “It’s a chance for us players to show that badminton is a legitimate sports. It’s fun to challenge those boys in our KW classes who claim they can beat us and then prove them wrong,” said junior Maya Malecki, who plays on the varsity team.

This year, Birdie Bash will continue to raise funds for a worthy cause. “It’s amazing. It’s kids helping kids,” said Ofcky.

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