Rival Schools Come Together In Honor Of Rocco Sivolella


By Joyce Ahn and Deanna Inciardi

On September 23, 2022, a sea of orange, the universal color for leukemia awareness, flooded the Wayne Hills field and stands, for the most important game of the year.

This game has always been important because of the rivalry between Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley, however this year, it was really important because it was the honor of Rocco Sivolella, a Valley football player who died of leukemia when he was only 15 years old. The town came together as “One Town, One Heart” as both schools came together to commemorate the life of Rocco. 

Rocco was diagnosed with Leukemia in January of 2022. He dealt with a four-month battle with cancer, but he had many people there to support him along the way. He had his family, friends, teammates and the town supporting him through his battle. Many sports teams such as girls lacrosse had games that honored him and tried to raise money to donate. In that same game they had cheerleaders cheer in honor of his battle. Sadly, On May 17 2022, he passed away. Many people of Wayne were devastated by the loss of the young boy who was only 15 years old. His football teammates gathered at a mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary R.C. Church wearing their football jerseys in honor.

Students in Wayne did all they could to commemorate and to never forget the death of Rocco, and are still continuing to do so. So far  $85,000 was collected through an online fundraiser for Rocco. Wayne Valley players on the boys’ lacrosse team also wrapped pieces of orange tape around the masks of their helmets during a game. Many people walked around the track of Wayne Valley, including cancer survivors and supporters, which collected almost $63,700 as well.

At the football game, many parents, students and teachers gathered together at Wayne Hills to be a part of the game that commemorated Rocco. Students from both schools, parents, and teachers all wore orange shirts and orange gear to support him. Before the game started, all the football players and cheerleaders from the rival schools lined up on each side of the field and made a circle showing “One town, One heart.” They spoke about his memory and the impact he had on the town. The game was attended by his mother and father Paula Corrieri and Anthony Sivolella. His girlfriend, a cheerleader at Wayne Valley also came to cheer on her team and honor her late boyfriend. A moment of silence was also held to remember Rocco, and to remember the things that he has done throughout his life.

Mrs. Morgan, a math teacher and head cheerleading coach at Wayne Hills said, “I thought it was a good common cause of the rivalry of the two schools as they came together in honor of Rocco.” The remembrance of Rocco’s death had a big impact as it brought the two schools together as “One Town, One Heart.” 

One Town - One Heart - One Game for Rocco | Wayne, NJ News TAPinto