BENNINGTON -- ‘Paying it Forward' is an expression used when helping someone after you've been helped by someone else.
For 1996 Mount Anthony Union High School graduate Diane Peacock, she hopes that she can ‘Play it Forward' the weekend of August 17 and 18.
Peacock, a former soccer player for the Patriots, has put together a women's soccer alumni weekend to not only look back but also to look forward.
"If I wasn't a part of soccer growing up, I don't know where I'd be today," Peacock said.
The entire weekend is in conjunction with Peacock's project Blue Lollipop Road.
Peacock, 34, started Blue Lollipop Road simply as a blog four years ago as a place to tell stories and post pictures of her road trips. She has been featured in Forbes Magazine in an article about solo travel for the single woman.
"I had been e-mailing so many pictures to people, I wanted a place to tell the stories," Peacock said.
Using that forum, Peacock, who lives in Chicago, launched an idea for a MAU women's soccer reunion a year ago. Peacock visited with a classmate living in New Hampshire, Kate Emma Adams (Schlosser), who thought it was a great plan.
"We talked about putting something together and it snowballed from there," Peacock said.
It had to be more than just an alumni game, Peacock said. So the idea of a scholarship and a mentoring summit were born. The scholarship will be awarded to a female athlete who wants to travel.
"A lot of kids don't have the money to travel," Peacock said. "This can put them in the right direction."
On the morning of the 18th, before the alumni game, there will be a "Strong Mojo" summit that will include Traci Molloy, one of the first soccer players at Mount Anthony, and Abbie O'Neill, a 2012 graduate. In between, other women's soccer alumni including University of South Carolina women's soccer coach Shelley (Addison) Smith, Lake Placid Ironman triathlon winner Jessie Donovan and MAU's all-time leading scorer in soccer and basketball, Nicole Levesque, will also participate in the summit.
Many young athletes from Bennington and the surrounding areas are expected to attend.
"The summit is like the mentoring for current athletes with older ones," Peacock said.
Mount Anthony coaches from past soccer teams will also be at the summit, including Dennis Amadon, Barb Cross and Doug Woodard. Amadon was the coach for both state championships in 1987 and 1989.
The response for the event has been extremely positive, with many coming back to the area to participate either in the game or the summit. Others still, if they can't be in attendance, have donated money to the cause, Peacock said.
The date wasn't picked at random either. The scholarship will be in honor of two former MAU soccer players, Maria Greene and Brandy Brown, who were killed on August 18, 1994, in a car accident.
Peacock had just returned from a school-sponsored exchange student program and was with the pair the same night as the accident.
"Going on that exchange program was the first time I'd left Vermont and travel's been a huge part of my life ever since," Peacock said. "That summer changed my life. Soccer has given me a great bond with the other girls," Peacock said.
The summit (11:30 a.m.) and alumni soccer game (1 p.m.) will be at Howard Park in Shaftsbury. The weekend will start on Friday, August 17 with a welcome party at Madison's Brewery on Main Street in Bennington. For more information, visit www.blue
lollipoproad.com or contact Diane Peacock at email@example.com or 804-339-6514.