January 29, 2008

Former M. Lacrosse Player Remembered

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For the third year in a row Bridgewaters in New York City hosted the annual 21 Dinner, a fundraising event spearheaded by Jesse Rothstein ’03 in memory of his friend and lacrosse teammate George Boiardi ’04. In previous years, proceeds from the event have gone to Teach for America — Boiardi planned on joining the South Dakota division of Teach for America after graduating from Cornell — but this year the event was held for the benefit of the Mario St. George Boiardi Foundation.
“The mission of the foundation is to empower the next generation through athletics and academics,” Rothstein said. “It is a foundation that was started by a number of George’s friends who graduated from Cornell.”
The foundation is in charge of Team 21 — a group of Cornell alumni who play lacrosse together at events like the Vail Lacrosse Shootout to raise money — and the 21 Run, described by the foundation’s website as “a 5K walk/run held each Spring at the Cornell Plantations in Ithaca, New York.” Proceeds from the 21 Run benefits the Ithaca Family Reading Partnership.
Jeremy Schaap ’91 emceed this year’s 21 Dinner and the keynote speaker was Michael Johnston, an alumnus of Teach for America.[img_assist|nid=26983|title=Number 21|desc=George Boiardi ’04 was remembered Saturday night during the annual 21 Dinner. Over 300 people attended the dinner, which was emceed by Jeremy Schaap ’91.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“It was primarily about his connection to Teach for America,” Rothstein said of Johnston’s keynote address. “Also his connection to the characteristics and traits that he shared with George, primarily being altruistic and thinking of others first and sort of having a desire to go and do things that are not what popular opinion would be. To go and deal with the issues that we have in this country and stand and talk about educational equity and to go places that most Cornell graduates wouldn’t go after graduating.”
Over 300 people gathered on Saturday evening to celebrate Boiardi’s life, which was ended prematurely by an accident on the lacrosse field. The total proceeds have not been calculated yet, but the dinner has raised as much as $50,000 in years past. This year’s event was decreed a success by Rothstein.
“I thought the evening was electric,” Rothstein said. “I would describe it as the same buzz and energy that you would feel at a very important lacrosse playoff game. It was a magical event with a ton of warmth and love and energy in the room in memory of a close friend.”