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West Springfield Students Celebrate Jordan Trunfio's Life

At Friday fundraiser, students dressed in white and played games to honor senior, who died Thursday after battling brain cancer. They've raised $11,000 — and plan to continue.

West Springfield High School senior Jordan Trunfio loved a lot of things. He loved football, movies, his family and his friends — but maybe even more than that, he loved to make people laugh.

“He was always cracking jokes, even at his worst,” senior Corey Marky said of his classmate.

Trunfio’s sense of humor, warm personality and his smile are just a handful of things his classmates and teachers say they will miss most about their beloved fellow Spartan.

“Jordan loved jokes and he was a gifted athlete, definitely a loving soul compassionate and graceful,” said Brendan Campbell, a physical education teacher at WSHS. 

Trunfio, 18, died Thursday after a year-long battle with brain cancer. On Friday, hundreds of students from WSHS and the West Springfield community came together in the school gym for a fundraiser in Trunfio’s honor.

  • Read: West Springfield High Senior Jordan Trunfio Dies After Battle with Cancer

“This isn't just a fundraiser; it's a celebration. It's a celebration of Jordan's life,” Campbell said

The fundraiser was just one in an ongoing series of events organized since last year by some of Trunfio’s closest friends and the WSHS Class of 2013. Shortly after he was diagnosed, the seniors chose to dedicate their senior class service project to raising funds to help Trunfio’s family cover his medical costs. According to WSHS Assistant Principal Becky Brandt, the students have raised more than $11,000 over the last year. 

For two hours on Friday, students watched their classmates face off in a basketball game against the South County Secondary School Stallions. In order to enter raffle contests, students were asked to donate at the door for a raffle ticket. There was a dunk contest and 3-point shootout contests for gift cards to local restaurants and raffle prizes. Baked goods were also sold in the lobby with all proceeds going to Trunfio’s family.

Gone, But Never Forgotten

There were a few somber moments shared among a sea of white shirts and painted faces and legs adorned with Trunfio’s football jersey number 58, but mostly, there was joy. Instead of tears, Trunfio’s friends and classmates chose to honor his memory with smiles, laughter and school spirit.

“It's an incredible thing to watch the community come together like this to celebrate the life of a fellow student,” said WSHS Principal Mark Greenfelder. “There's a lot more than these kids could be doing on a Friday night, especially on their last night as seniors at the high school, and they decided to be here and support each other. I'm honored to be a part of this night.” 

  • Read: Community Remembers Senior Jordan Trunfio as 'Definition of a Warrior'

Last year, the Spartan football team dedicated their entire season to Trunfio, who began playing for the school his freshman year. He remained an integral part of the team even as he played a less intense role. According to Brandt, Trunfio attended almost every game to support his team.

Just as he supported them, Trunfio’s classmates stood by him all year long.

“Everyone really came together and rallied around Jordan. Everyone forgot about cliques and silly things like that. Jordan was the one thing we all rallied behind. We all really bonded because of him,” senior Sarah Pike said. 

“I’ll always remember his smile,” said Kevin Hauser, a friend and teacher of Trunfio. 

In his final days, Trunfio was surrounded by family and friends. On Monday, he received his diploma and became the first WSHS senior to graduate. WSHS also honored Trunfio by retiring his No. 58 on Thursday. Trunfio was presented with his framed football jersey that same day.

“Jordan was an inspiration to everyone,” said Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41st). “It warms my heart to see so many people come together and show their support for him.”

As the senior class prepares to graduate June 14, many of them said they will walk across that stage with Trunfio in their hearts.

 “These fundraisers began with the students doing whiteouts and it ended with the students doing whiteouts. It’s a good way to end the year, all of the students together,” Campbell said.

Funeral arrangements for Trunfio were not available Friday night. For more on fundraising efforts, visit his EverRibbon funding page.

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