Inaugural John R. Guerra Golf Outing honors Florida athlete with memorial scholarship fund

Florida. The life of a Florida teen athlete killed in a car crash will be honored with a memorial scholarship funded in part by a golf outing next month.

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John Guerra made a difference in his short life.

Whether he was on the basketball court, in the classroom or out in his community, his kindness and leadership always came through.

John died July 23, 2018 in a car accident when he was just 17, but the positive and lasting impression he made on his community and beyond will live on. Two of John’s friends, Grant Gravelle and Christian Stangeby, both seniors at S.S. Seward Institute, are making sure of that.

Grant and Christian grew up with John.

They are honoring John’s memory by creating a scholarship in his name that will be awarded in June to one male and one female graduate of Seward’s class of 2019.

To raise funds for the scholarship, which will be an annual award, they are hosting the inaugural John R. Guerra Scholarship Golf Outing on May 4 at High Point Golf Club in Montague, N.J.

“We figured there are a lot of ways to honor someone’s memory,” said Christian. “A scholarship would be best because 25, 30, years from now people will still be wanting to get the John Guerra scholarship.”

The young men have been working on this fundraiser for months.

They let the coaches and referees in the section know of their plan and, before they knew it, the 100 slots for the golf tournament were sold out.

That is a true testament to who John was.

“John was all about people being together and having fun,” said his basketball coach Rob Gravelle. “You liked John whether you knew him five minutes or his whole life.”

Gravelle said Grant and Christian put this together as their senior project because they want their friend to be remembered.

“John was very active in class activities. He was an excellent student and loved sports, especially basketball,” he said. “The loss to his teammates and the community was unspeakable. Every day was a tough day.”

This event, and the scholarship in John’s memory, is intended to celebrate his life and the joy he brought to others.

The golf outing will be an annual event and the scholarship will be awarded to each graduating class going forward. Gravelle hopes others will pick up the torch when Grant and Christian graduate.

“There is so much generosity in the Florida and Warwick community,” said Gravelle. “I hope it only continues to grow from here.”

Silent auction underway

In addition to the golf outing, there is a silent auction that is currently open for bids.

The prizes include signed jerseys by New York Giants’ star Saquon Barkley, New Orleans Pelicans player Anthony Davis, and New York Knicks star Carmello Anthony. There is a Ballyowen golf foursome available as well as Giants tickets for four including field passes.

The silent auction bidding closes at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 4.

It’s not too late to contribute.

While the golf spots are sold out, people interested in contributing may visit the group’s website, to make a donation or to bid on the silent auction items, or they can sign up online to be put on a waiting list for the tournament should someone bow out.

Contributions may also be made by sending a check made payable to “John R. Guerra Scholarship Fund” to Florida Union Free School District, P.O. Drawer 757, Florida, NY 10921-0757.

People may also add to the silent auction items and raffles by contacting the organizers at

It is Grant and Christian’s goal to keep John’s spirit of kindness alive, they said, to let people who never met him know the kind of person he was.

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