Cornhole tournament to benefit Russell White scholarship


The fourth annual cornhole tournament benefitting a scholarship in the name of the late Russell White will be held June 8 at the Millville Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall. The tournament is hosted by the Xi Upsilon sorority, which is part of Beta Sigma Phi International. This year, the scholarship — which started at just $500 — is up to $2,500.

Laura Tedesco, a Xi Upsilon member, said the sorority has been successful with the cornhole tournament, which is their main fundraising event, so they decided to raise the scholarship amount. She explained that Xi Upsilon was started because many of the women involved have mothers that are together in a sorority and they wanted to branch out and have something for women of their generation.

“When we started, we thought, ‘Let’s make our own,’ and someone suggested having a scholarship,” explained Tedesco. “And Russell White had just passed away, and he was friends with one of the girls in the original group.”

Lance Cpl. Russell White, an Indian River High School graduate, was killed while serving in Afghanistan in June of 2004.

Melissa Grise, who heads the sorority’s scholarship committee, said they created it to benefit a student who serves their community and is a “good all-around kid.” She said they look less at grades and test scores and more at what the applicants have done in terms of service and what their plans are for the future.

“It’s for a kid that works hard and wants to give back to their community,” she said.

This year, they had students answer specific questions, instead of writing an essay on a certain subject and, afterward, they will personally interview the candidates. Grise explained that they hope to give out this year’s award at the Indian River High School awards ceremony in May.

Grise explained that they have been together as a group for about 10 years and had started with a golf tournament for fundraising, but decided to try cornhole instead. The cornhole tournament is a more relaxed way to people to have fun and enjoy themselves, while supporting a good cause, she said.

Emily Harne, a member of Xi Upsilon, heads up the cornhole tournament committee. She said people can register by calling her at (302) 381-2217. She explained that they need to have registrations by May 10 to ensure proper T-shirt sizes for registered teams, but they won’t turn anyone away if they happen to register later or on the day of the tournament.

Harne said they expect about 40 to 50 teams of two. On June 8, they will also have a silent auction for people who are not participating in the tournament, with auction items including merchandise and gift cards from area establishments and restaurants. D.J. Hook will be there, playing music and announcing the tournament, which will be played in a double-elimination bracket system.

“It’s fun. People bring their coolers and lawn chairs” said Harne. “They bring snacks and hang out and play cornhole. We hope to be able to continue to raise as much as we can, because the more we raise, the more we get to give out!”

For information or to register, call Emily Harne at (302) 381-2217. For those who register on June 8, registration starts at noon and they start playing at 1 p.m. The cost is $50 for a team of two.