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Donnelly's passion lives on


Scholarship foundation holds hoops tourney



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Participants in the inaugural Patrick Donnelly Memorial Golf Tournament check in at the Heritage Country Club in Charlton in June. The Donnelly Foundation, which held a basketball tournament last fall, is planning the first 3 on 3 basketball tournament this month to aid its scholarship program. (click for larger version)
November 09, 2010
STURBRIDGE — More than two years have passed since Tantasqua and Westfield State College graduate Patrick Donnelly was fatally shot while driving his car in Jacksonville, Fla., but his memory still shines brightly thanks to the tireless work of his mother, Kathleen Johnson, and the support she has received from the community.

Johnson established the Patrick Donnelly Foundation to honor the life and legacy of her son, who moved to Sturbridge with his family when he was 7 years old and became a standout basketball player on the Tantasqua Regional High School varsity team. He served as the team captain during his senior year, and played on travel teams every summer. In addition to his successes on the court, Donnelly was a driven student who took part in several extra-curricular activities, including the school chorus and student council. He also enjoyed writing historical fiction stories based on famous settings, people, and events, many of which involved important wars that occurred in Europe.

"Pat had the gift of imagination and the desire to write stories ever since he was young," Johnson said. "He started asking me to write his stories down when he was four years old."

To honor her son's passion for basketball, Johnson organized the first annual Patrick Donnelly Memorial 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament last year. More than 200 people participated in the event, and Johnson hopes to see an even better turnout for this year's tournament, which will take place on Saturday Nov. 27.

The tournament is broken down into boys' and girls' divisions, and each division features five sub-divisions: a fifth and sixth grade division, a seventh and eighth grade division, a high school division, an Adult "B" division, and an Adult "A" division. The fifth and sixth grade division costs $20 per team, the seventh and eight grade division costs $40 dollars per team, the high school division costs $60 per team, and both of the adult divisions cost $80 per team. The event will also include a free-throw contest.

Proceeds from the tournament will help fund the Patrick Donnelly Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a graduating Tantasqua senior admitted to Westfield State University, the same educational path that Donnelly followed.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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