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La Jolla Athlete of the Week: Country Day’s Olivia Brass mixes 2 sports with performing arts, helping others

La Jolla Country Day School senior Olivia Brass plays both varsity field hockey and lacrosse.
(Courtesy)

Coach Krista Jackson has nothing but praise for Olivia Brass, a senior at La Jolla Country Day School who is both a varsity field hockey defender and a lacrosse attacker. She’s also into performing arts and community service.

“She inspires us all to continue to seek out and create ways to support others, especially those who need it most,” Jackson said.

During Brass’ freshman year at La Jolla Country Day, the Torreys’ field hockey program was in its infancy, established only the year before. Brass joined the same year Jackson became coach. Since then, Brass has been instrumental in shaping the program, according to Jackson.

“We were all finding our bearings that first year,” Jackson recalled, “and I loved the enthusiasm and initiative the players were showing.”

Brass’ drive caught the attention of her coaches.

“I tell underclassmen to talk to Brass,” Jackson said. “She’s someone who seamlessly balances all of her commitments all four years.”

In addition to being a varsity athlete, Brass has been a part of the school’s drama and choir programs. She has performed in musicals and other plays, sung the national anthem at sports events and is the section leader for the soprano singers in the school choir.

Olivia Brass initiated the LJCDS field hockey team’s annual “Orange Game” fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Olivia Brass initiated the La Jolla Country Day field hockey team’s annual “Orange Game” fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
(Courtesy)

Her impact on the school is perhaps most reflected in her initiation of the field hockey team’s “Orange Game” fundraiser.

During her first year on the team, a sibling of one of Brass’ teammates was struggling with leukemia. Brass felt compelled to make a difference.

She had the idea to hold an “orange game” to raise funds for the nonprofit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Leukemia is symbolized by the color orange.

“Our school was already a supporter of ‘pink games’ [for breast cancer awareness], so there was already a connection for the month of October,” Brass said.

Brass brought the idea of a charity game to her coaches and the school’s director of service learning and experiential education. With their encouragement, Brass led the charge to establish an annual leukemia awareness game and pledge drive that has continued since.

The initial Orange Game featured pledges for charitable donations, a bake sale and a raffle. With each goal the Torreys scored during the game, more money was included in overall donations. The team was able to raise $4,800 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the first two years of the game.

Last year, high school sports were called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, starting in March. When field hockey was allowed to resume this month, the Orange Game was scheduled for March 12, the final day of the Torreys’ abbreviated five-game season.

“We didn’t know we were going to be playing any games” until shortly before the season started, Jackson said.

“We had to plan for the fundraiser within a week,” Brass said.

With limited fan capacity in the stands and social distancing guidelines in effect, the Orange Game fundraiser had to be modified. The bake sale was canceled, but the team still led a pledge drive, handing out QR codes for a donation website. Brass also worked with clothing company Walk My Gear to make commemorative orange sweatshirts and donate apparel-based proceeds to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

By the end of this year’s Orange Game, Brass and the team had raised more than $3,000 in donations, more than half the funds raised in the first two years. This included both the money raised by pledges and goals scored during the game, in which the Torreys beat Point Loma, 6-0.

“I’m really grateful to be a part of such a giving community and for all the girls on my team working so hard to raise money out on the field,” Brass said.

Brass and Jackson are now prepping for the lacrosse season, which opens April 12. After high school, Brass is looking to study in the United Kingdom, where she plans to continue playing field hockey.

Jackson said she hopes the Orange Games will continue at La Jolla Country Day, giving Brass a legacy in her wake.

La Jolla Athlete of the Week features athletes from all sports in high school (La Jolla High, The Bishop’s School, La Jolla Country Day School) and other local youth sports. We’re looking not only for the stars of competition but also for student-athletes who set an example for teamwork, academic achievement and/or community involvement. Please email your nominations, and a way to reach your nominees, to Editor Rob Vardon at robert.vardon@lajollalight.com.