A former US Lacrosse All American and an alumnus of Olentangy High School, Cliff Kigar has received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence. At present, Clifford Kigar is enrolled in a mechanical engineering program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Moreover, Cliff Kigar supports Lacrosse the Nations.
Lacrosse the Nations (LtN) seeks to unify the lacrosse community with the goal of enhancing the health and education of children in need while offering them opportunities and hope. The nonprofit organization subscribes to the four core values outlined below.
Unity is the first core value. The organization connects the lacrosse community of the United States to communities in need within the country and internationally. Moreover, it relies on lacrosse community members to serve as “ambassadors of hope” to people in need.
Education and health constitute the second core value. The organization has adopted a focus on health and education, which are interconnected. It works with schools to educate students on the value of education, self-esteem, and health and the basics of nutrition. Its goals include boosting enrollment, improving attendance, and enhancing the rate of graduation.
Sustainability, the third core value, refers to LtN’s investment in the empowerment of local communities and establishment and monitoring of sustainable programs. Community leaders undergo training to help them manage the programs.
Hope and opportunity constitute the fourth core value. The organization mentors children, offering them lessons in life skills and character on the field as well as off the field.
Clifford Kigar is a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) as well as the coach of an elite lacrosse team in Columbus, Ohio. A former US Lacrosse All-American, Cliff Kigar also plays on the varsity lacrosse team at RPI. Cliff Kigar participates with his team in various fundraisers for charities, such as a recent tournament to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is an international nonprofit dedicated to assisting members of the military, both active and veteran, who have incurred an injury while in the line of duty. Prompted by the tragic events of the 9/11 terror attack, the charity was founded in 2003 to assist with the growing number of veterans who had been injured, either mentally or physically, during their service.
The organization has many programs and fundraisers in place but relies largely on local support, such as RPI’s lacrosse tournament fundraiser. An annual event, the “Face Off For A Cause” held at Rensselaer raised over $25,000 in 2016 and included seven collegiate teams from the area in a round-robin elimination tournament. The Wounded Warrior Project encourages athletes to actively search out these community-sponsored opportunities to support the organization.
Currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cliff Kigar plays on the school’s varsity lacrosse team. To give back to the Troy, New York, community, Cliff Kigar participates in Everybody WINS!, a program that involves reading to and mentoring local elementary school children on a weekly basis. The program is operated by Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County.
Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County aim to empower children and communities through education, offering programs that focus on literacy, citizenship, and civic responsibility. The Everybody WINS! mentoring program strives to foster a love of reading in elementary-school-age children by matching them with reading adults.
One-on-one weekly lunches provide the opportunity for students to practice reading and receive general mentoring from community volunteers. According to corporate partners in the Everybody WINS! program, employees who mentor report having a higher sense of morale than employees who do not volunteer.
For information about volunteering with Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County, visit www.lvorc.org.
Clifford “Cliff” Kigar is an honors graduate of Olentangy High School who is currently working toward a degree in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). A lifelong lacrosse player, Cliff Kigar is a member of the school’s Division III varsity team.
On the heels of a 10-5 regular season which placed the team fifth in the Liberty League, six RPI student athletes were named to the All-Liberty League Team. Senior attack Breanainn McNeally was named to the First Team, while Zach Lukas, Tom Feenstra, Keaton Ackermann, and JT Kelly earned Second Team honors. Additionally, David Gibbs was named as an honorable mention.
McNeally scored multiple goals in 11 of RPI’s 15 regular season contests and recorded at least five points in eight games. A three-time All-League First Team honoree, he concluded his four-year career as the school’s all-time leader in goals with 179. Lukas, a junior attack, finished the season with 43 points in 14 games and ranked sixth league-wide in points per game. Feenstra and Ackermann played midfield and defense, respectively, and earned recognition for their combined 24 turnovers, while Kelly led the team in assists with 28. Gibbs, meanwhile, started all 15 games as the team’s goaltender and stopped 146 of 264 shots on goal.
An active outdoorsman with interests in ice boating, fishing, skiing, and sailing, Clifford “Cliff” Kigar is currently studying mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Cliff Kigar’s favorite sport is lacrosse.
Despite being one of the oldest sports in North America, Lacrosse hasn’t had much of a presence at the Summer Olympics, having only been a full medal sport in 1904 and 1908. It was a demonstration sport during the Olympic Games in 1928, 1932, and 1948, but hasn’t been part of the Olympic program since. A Canadian team from Winnipeg defeated a local St. Louis team for the gold medal in 1904, while Canada beat its only opponent, Great Britain, to win gold in 1908.
Prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the addition of baseball, skateboarding, karate, softball, surfing, and sport climbing to the list of sports on the program in 2020. Presently, the Federation of International Lacrosse is working toward earning IOC recognition in the hopes of being included as an Olympic sport as early as 2024. One of the major roadblocks for Olympic acceptance is the number of countries with national programs. The 2017 World Cup will have as many as 30 countries participating, but the IOC requires a minimum of 40 active countries.
A student of mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, Clifford “Cliff” Kigar grew up in the township of Lewis Center, Ohio, where he graduated from Olentangy High School in 2015. As a young boy, Cliff Kigar crewed on a C&C 25 sailboat that was owned by his family. Named Blaze, this sloop won the 2005 Fall Regatta of the Alum Creek Sailing Association.
Established 35 years ago to promote the sport of sailing, the Alum Creek Sailing Association currently has more than 200 members and operates a full-service Lewis Center-based sailing facility. Its founders were accomplished sailors who simply loved to race.
This dedication to sailboat racing continues today, as the Association continues to sponsor the Red Cup Series and several regattas on an annual basis. During the summer months, the organization also holds private racing events each Wednesday evening. Its regatta series begins with the Ice Breaker in April and ends with the Old Fox Regatta in October.
A mechanical engineering student and member of the men’s lacrosse team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clifford “Cliff” Kigar supports the efforts of Lacrosse the Nations (LtN). LtN volunteers such as Cliff Kigar work to improve education and health for children in communities across the globe.
Founded in 2012, the LtN program in Playa Potrero, Costa Rico, provides physical exercise opportunities for students in the small Costa Rican town. To accomplish its mission, LtN developed more than eight hours of athletic programming every week, including after-school lacrosse practices for students of all ages and mandatory physical education classes during the school day itself. Participants in classes and practices learn skills such as respect and teamwork, which helps them take a leadership role in their own education and health.
In addition to its athletics classes, LtN uses its LtN Scholars and Team Trips programs to provide scholarships to the most promising students in Playa Potrero. To learn more about LtN, visit its website at www.lacrossethenations.org.