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Bake Sale to benefit Olympic-bound island teen

By Staff | Jul 16, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Savannah Nippa with Coach Harvey Simpson Jr. and her teammates.

The island’s American Legion is raising funds to help send a Sanibel teen to the Junior Olympics.

American Legion Post 123 will hold a Bake Sale on July 24 from noon until “everything is sold,” with the proceeds to benefit Bishop Verot Catholic High School incoming senior Savannah Nippa, 17. Set to mark her fourth year on the varsity track team, she qualified for the 2019 AAU Junior Olympic Games.

The games will be held July 27 to Aug. 3 at the North Carolina A&T stadium in Greensboro.

Michaela “Micki” Hickey, Savannah’s mother who works at the legion and the SanCap Pak-n-Ship, explained that she has lived on the island for 30 years and her daughter was born and raised on it.

“This was her summer goal, her and her coach’s, to make it,” Hickey said of the competition.


“She’s competing in the track and field events – shot put and discus,” she added.

A member of Bishop Verot’s Class of 2020, Savannah has gone to states in track the last two years, Hickey said. Also involved with the IceUp Athletics & Track Club, directed by Coach Harvey Simpson Jr. – assistant coach for Bishop Verot – she and Simpson set their sights on the Junior Olympics.

“It’s the first time she’s taken this on, to do the Junior Olympics,” her mother said.

In early June, Savannah and her IceUp teammates competed in districts in Largo and qualified, advancing to regionals later that month in Kissimmee. Savannah again made it through.

“That made her eligible for the Junior Olympics,” Hickey said.

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel resident Savannah Nippa, 17, is headed to the AAU Junior Olympic Games in track and field. American Legion Post 123 is holding a Bake Sale on July 24 to help her offset the costs of the trip.

A K-8 graduate of The Sanibel School, Savannah is no stranger to putting in the hard work.

“She did pretty much every sport you could imagine,” her mother said.

Savannah is a member of the varsity swim team and will mark her fourth year when she returns to Bishop Verot next month. She also has swam competitively with Swim Florida for 13 years. Her first two years at the school she played basketball, before switching to weight lifting to focus on track.

“They let her cross-train into track a little easier,” Hickey said.

Her daughter is aiming to attend college on an athletic scholarship and keep going.

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel resident Savannah Nippa, 17, is headed to the AAU Junior Olympic Games in track and field. American Legion Post 123 is holding a Bake Sale on July 24 to help her offset the costs of the trip.

“She’s had two offers so far,” Hickey said.

“Track and field is really what she’s going for,” she added.

But Savannah’s accomplishments do not start and end with sports. Her mother explained that she receives good grades and is a member of the National Honor Society. Savannah volunteers with Hoops on Mission, takes part in the Fellowship of Christian Athletics and is a house leader at her school.

Hickey described the house leader role as part of a mentoring program at Bishop Verot.

“She’s part of the youth group at Sanibel Community Church,” she said.

A participant since the age of 5, Savannah has taken part in missionary trips over the years.

“She’s an amazing kid. She does a lot of wonderful things,” Hickey said.

“I’m very proud of her,” she added.

On July 24, the proceeds raised from the Bake Sale will help offset Savannah’s travel expenses, accommodations and entry fees for the Junior Olympics. There is no set fund-raising goal.

“Anything would be appreciated,” her mother said.

The Sons of the Legion and Ladies Auxiliary are helping out with the event.

“They are all pitching in,” Hickey said. “Savannah will be here.”

There will be key lime pies, bananas breads, cakes, cookies and more goodies for sale.

“And even some more savory things, too,” she said.

Those without a sweet tooth – or not permitted to have sweets – can still make a contribution by donating gift cards, gas vouchers or such that Savannah can use on her way to the competition.

Monetary donations are also welcome.

Those unable to make it to the event can drop off donations at the legion or SanCap Pal-n-Ship.

For more information, call Micki Hickey at 239-472-9979.

American Legion Post 123 is at 4929 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel.

SanCap Pal-n-Ship is at 2422 Palm Ridge Road, Sanibel.