NEWTON, NJ—It was not the usual year end banquet for the Newton High School boys lacrosse team. Despite the storm, the team's dinner was held on Wednesday night.
Two Newton lacrosse seniors were awarded the first two scholarships of the six that will be announced this year from the Lexi Faye Heart of Gold Lacrosse Scholarship.
Because of the strong support for the fund, scholarships in the amount of $3,000 each were given to Matthew Krawchuk and Giovanni Bavacqua. They were presented with plaques at last night’s banquet.
Krawchuk will be majoring in business administration in the fall at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Bevacqua will be majoring in plant science at the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill.
Joan Faye, Lexi's mother said, “Lexi cared about absolutely everyone and had a heart of gold.” It was Joan Faye's friend Donnamarie Carson, who came up with the scholarship's name.
Joan Faye shared a story about a time when her daughter was upset when she picked her up after a lacrosse game. As they sat in the car and talked, an SUV pulled alongside with several players inside and Lexi Faye joined them. She kept in touch with her mother throughout the night via text and was "truly, truly happy that someone had her back and helped to turn her mood around,” Joan said. “That person was Krawchuk.”
Bevacqua held all of Lexi Faye's attributes and more on and off the field and "always made her feel at ease,” Joan Faye said.
The boys’ names will be the first put on the plaque to be hung in the school with Lexi Faye’s portrait in the center.
A few of the players, along with the coaches Brian Bennington, gave speeches through their tears in Lexi Faye’s honor during the banquet. Tommy Carson, a junior on the team and Bavacqua, a senior, were among those who talked.
“Lexi Faye was not only a good friend off the field but on the field as well,” Carson said. “As a stats girl Lexi always got the job done getting every ground ball, assist, save, and goal. For each player on the team Lexi was a friendly face to turn to whether you’re in the penalty box asking how much time is left or on the bus just talking to her. Lexi will always hold a special place in each players’ heart because she was not just a stats girl she was a member of the team but most importantly she was family. It was an honor for each of us to have her on the team helping us every game. From all the players to you, thank you Lexi Faye.”
A framed photo of Faye stood on a display easel onstage among her teammates. Bennington said she had a “can-do attitude and was nothing short of amazing.” He also commended the team, stating that in his years coaching, he did not recall a team with the amount of hurdles to overcome as this one did.
Lexi Faye’s parents, Joan and Russ attended banquet and were presented with her varsity letter and certificate, as well as an embroidered Newton Braves Lacrosse blanket. Those in attendance, about 100 people, held hands formed a prayer circle to support the Faye family.
“I wasn’t very close with Lexi until this past lacrosse season, but within these last couple of months she became someone I could talk to without judgment or question,” Bevacqua said. “[She was] an amazing friend and most importantly a part of our lacrosse family. After every game, no matter win or lose, she would always stay positive and have a smile on her face and that smile was infectious because it would remind me to have a positive outlook no matter what happened on or off the field. So I would just like to thank Mrs. Faye and Mr. Faye for raising such an amazing daughter and to reassure you that Newton lacrosse will never forget the impact she has made on our team.”
Anthony McCann, a junior and Lexi Faye’s boyfriend of almost three years, also said a few words about her.
“Lexi never realized how many people she would make smile every single day, every person had a friend in Lexi no matter who they were or how cool their social status was. She loved everyone the same and that was what made her so special. To meet Lexi was the best thing that ever happened to me and to the so many other people that she cared about and who cared about her. She made the people around her feel special and wanted, and in a way needed in life and she just gave people that amazing feeling that no one else could give them or get anywhere else except with her. She touched hundreds of lives with her kind and loving personality and because of who Lexi Faye was, I believe she turned other people including myself into better humans and helped them find their own paths in life.”
According to those who created the scholarship, it was “established in order to ensure that Lexi's loving soul will never be forgotten. As one of her various passions, Lexi was the stat girl for the Newton High School Lacrosse team. Lexi's love for her role, as well as the team, was undeniable. To keep Lexi Faye's legacy alive, we would like to recognize individuals who possess many of the same characteristics that Lexi embraced herself. The ways in which we saw Lexi is the way in which we would like to keep her memory alive for years to come. Her loyalty, commitment, dedication, kindness, compassion, and humility are qualities that we want to recognize in our recipients.”
Scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each will be provided to four additional lacrosse players who attend a high school that participated in the Newton Strong White Out Movement. Players have been nominated by their teammates. Nominees were asked to write a 1,000 word essay about what character means to them.