UNITY — Ten Teams vied for bragging rights at the fifth annual Tyler Zunti Memorial Volleyball Tournament hosted in Unity over the Thanksgiving weekend, raising awareness of mental health and $6,000 to benefit the cause.
The winning team consisted of current UCHS students and recent UCHS graduates.
In 2016, a group of former Unity Composite High school students began an alumni volleyball tournament that would gather former teammates and classmates in a fun activity on Thanksgiving weekend. Successful right from the start, players and their families loved the camaraderie they shared on the court and in the UCHS gym.
2018 changed the intention of the tournament after a friend to many passed away. The tournament was renamed in memory of Tyler Zunti. Zunti graduated from UCHS in 2008 and while talented in many sports, volleyball was his favourite.
The UCHS volleyball alumni organizers, in a post about their event, stated, “Tyler was one of a kind. He lit up a room as soon as he walked into it, and he left an impression on everyone. With him, you were guaranteed laughs and memories.”
Various graduating years of UCHS Volleyball alumni make up the committee and include Cody Belliveau, Jenna Pool, Ryan Wallace, Cory Wildeman, Natalie Kiefer, Kelsey Akerlund, Jenna Polreis and Brendon Bloder.
Due to pandemic prescribed restrictions, the tournament was unable to proceed in 2020 and 2021. The group says they were elated to restart it again in 2022.
Organizing alumni group spokesperson said, “We can’t thank the community enough for the generous donations towards this tournament as well as raising awareness and funds for mental health.”
Along with the money raised at the Thanksgiving weekend event, the group is looking at options to keep the money in town while bringing awareness to mental health, such as bringing another speaker into the high school.
Organizers ran a silent auction, a 50-50 draw and a raffle to help with their overall fundraising total. The first year the event was renamed the Tyler Zunti Memorial Tournament $7,815.05 was raised with $5,051 of that going towards mental wellness and the remainder staying at UCHS for a scholarship.
2019 followed with 14 teams helping generate another $5,400 for mental wellness. Another UCHS graduate, Zoe Parkinson-Fisher’s book helped contribute to that total. As a result of 2019, success, a speaker had been booked in the school for that November.
Recently, UCHS Warriors held a night lights football game to benefit mental wellness efforts presenting $1,141 to the cause. UCHS Warriors football tradition benefits mental wellness - SaskToday.ca