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State Honoree

William Laborde

Louisiana

William Laborde, 12, of Lake Charles, La., a seventh-grader at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, organized an underwater scuba-diving checkers tournament in his backyard swimming pool that raised nearly $3,000 to benefit sick children through the Children’s Miracle Network. William had just received his scuba certification when he and his mother read an article about a similar tournament in another state. “My mom is always participating in fundraisers,” said William. “I thought it would be good to do something myself.” First, William spoke to the members of the diving club to encourage their participation. Then he designed a pledge packet and arranged for participant prizes. William got his whole family involved – his sister painted a checkerboard on a marble slab; his mom glued the checkers onto washers; and his dad grilled hamburgers. “Making sure everything would stay underwater was the most difficult,” William said. William’s goal was to raise $1,000, but in the end, the 32 people who participated raised $2,800. Next year, William plans to hold separate tournaments for adults and children, and hopes to double his funds.