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Bengal Bouts presents donation

Ryan Sydlik | Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The $52,000 check was the most valuable piece of paper Nathan Schroeder ever held before he presented it to Father Tom Smith Tuesday morning outside of Moreau Seminary.

The check was the total proceeds of last year’s men’s Bengal Bouts boxing tournament, and brought the annual charity event to full circle.

“We are really happy with the total that we got last year,” Schroeder, a 2006 Notre Dame graduate and last year’s president of Bengal Bouts, said. “Fifty-two thousand dollars net is really good.”

Though the funds raised through Bengal Bouts have increased since its inception, its purpose remains the same. For 77 years, proceeds from Bengal Bouts have benefited the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh. The funds collected are used to provide medical care, build student education hostels, care for orphans, treat those with drug problems and perform countless other actions for the destitute communities served in Bangladesh.

Smith, director of Holy Cross Missions, said the amount raised was by no means trivial, and estimated that the $52,000 is worth up to $500,000 worth of goods and services in Bangladesh.

While Bengal Bouts is just starting to gear up for this year’s tournament in February and March, the women’s Baraka Bouts will take place this Thursday from 6-11 p.m. in the Joyce Center. Andrew McGill, this year’s president of Bengal Bouts encouraged anyone available to attend the event, which benefits Holy Cross Missions across Africa.

McGill previewed this year’s plans for Bengal Bouts after the check was handed over. He said 170 people have paid dues for the program and most will end up competing this year, including three returning champions.

“The guys who just began their training absolutely love it. They love the hard workouts, the camaraderie,” McGill said.

McGill said that although boxing is usually a very individual sport, the Bengal Bouts makes it a team.

“Bengal Bouts has taken a sport that is one-on-one, and it has turned it into a community building opportunity,” he said. “Notre Dame is such a tight community, and there’s this miniature community inside Notre Dame that is as close as you could possibly ever imagine.”

McGill said the best part of the program, however, is its focus on charity.

“To be in charge of [such a program] is a fantastic honor,” he said.

Father Bill Seetch, Bengal Bouts Chaplain and Erika Meyer, a student office assistant for Bengal Bouts, were also present for the check presentation.