BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
ElkLakesenior Vanessa Otis saw her senior project as an opportunity to combine two things she cares about, suicide prevention and athletics.
While it may seem like an unusual combination, Otis, 17, of Laceyville, described it as a no-brainer.
“My brother is really into baseball and a good friend of mine committed suicide,” Otis said. “So I decided to combine the two and hold a benefit tournament.”
The tournament was named “Miranda’s Rainbow Tournament,” named after Miranda Larnerd, a formerElkLakestudent who moved nearTioga,N.Y., where she tragically took her own life two years ago.
It was called the “Rainbow Tournament,” because Larnerd’s favorite quote was, “If you want to see a rainbow you must go through the rain.”
Otis and Larnerd were friends until Larnerd moved away in 2008. She would have graduated in 2012. Larnerd enjoyed sports and having fun with family and friends.
The baseball aspect came from her brother Dakota Otis, 8, who plays for Susquehanna County Little League.
Miranda’s tournament took place from Aug. 18-21 hosted by the Susquehanna County Little League and held at the Rush Athletic Field inLawton.
Four area teams participated, including Miranda’s Rainbow from Rush, NEBALL fromNortheast Bradfordarea, RTL from the Wyalusing area and the Cherokees from the Choconut/Montrose area.
NEBALL took home first place from the tournament with RTL taking second. The Cherokees placed third and Miranda’s Rainbow finished in fourth.
Otis said that at the tournament there were t-shirt and bracelet sales, and all proceeds will go to a scholarship fund atElkLake.
The scholarship will be given each year to a graduating senior atElkLakebecause the tournament was such as success that Otis has decided to hold it every year.
“I want people to be aware that words hurt,” Otis said. “Suicide is a big deal and I want to bring awareness to the topic.”
Otis noted that she was very touched by how much people cared about the subject, and listened intently to a speech she gave prior to the tournament.
“People were very generous with donations,” Otis said.
Local organizations that gave to the Miranda’s Rainbow Scholarship Fund included Action Cleaning, Cargill, Dr. Jeff Hainley, Flynn’s Stone Castle, Jones Construction, Laceyville Hardware, Larue’s Produce, Lisa’s Cutting Edge, Lockhart’s Title and Tag, Miller’s Pharmacy, Paulyn Housing, Inc., Sister’s in Sitches, Stevensville Auto, the Hayloft, Century Farm Meats, Craige’s Photique, Frank and Mary’s Restaurant, Genesis Salon, Jaime’s Salon, Robinson’s Southtown Market, The Book Shoppe, The Cabin Country Store, The Inn at Montrose, The Lily Pad and The Wiser Choice Restaurant.