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High school athletes thank their moms on Mother's Day

17 year-old Peri Eckhoff with her mom, Ila

17 year-old Peri Eckhoff with her mom, Ila Eckhoff, photographed at their home in Bay Shore on Friday May 9, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

To: Ingrid Fray

From: Jazmine Fray, Kellenberg track

Dear Mom, A mother is a precious person in your life who nurtures your talents and abilities. She understands you more than you know yourself. You are that person.

Not only do you possess these qualities, but also as a single parent, you have put so much into your motherhood, that I feel I have been able to evolve into a complete person. You have been my mother, my mentor, cheerleader, and friend. Everyday, I count my blessings to God that he gave me such a strong woman whom I can call Mom.

It's never far from my memory how you worked two jobs and went back to school full-time, and how when I was young, you did your homework with a flashlight. You've worked so hard in your advertising jobs just to single-handedly pay for my private school tuition, and the house we live in today. In the future, I plan to achieve a college scholarship in track and field to give you a break from the financial burden you have taken on my whole life.

Your lessons of teaching me that the experiences we had in the past can only be used to teach us the patterns and values we have in the future are invaluable. You are amazing! It is your motivation that is the reason I discipline myself to eat right and practice hard consistently. Your strength is the reason on the last straightaway of my races, I can push so hard. Your determination inspires me to want to work to win a national championship. You have always loved me unconditionally, and the only thing you ask for in return is for me to live my dream, work hard, and honestly, and live life to the absolute fullest. It is for these values you have taught me by example that you are my hero. Happy Mother's Day!

Love, Jazmine


To: Debra Ciresi

From Sarah Ciresi, Bethpage gymnastics

Dear Mom, Thank you for supporting me in everything that I do, whether it be always believing in me and cheering me on throughout my gymnastics career, or encouraging me and guiding me throughout my academic pursuits. If it wasn't for your endless love and support, I would not have been able to achieve all that I have today. Happy Mother's Day, Mom, I love you!

Love, Sarah


To: Chrissie Strovink

From: Brennan Strovink, Rocky Point baseball

Dear Mom,

I can't thank you enough for all you do for me and [my brother] Kyle. The hours you've spent washing our jerseys, driving us to games and practices, and helping us with schoolwork after a long day is remarkable, and never unappreciated. Without you, Kyle and I wouldn't be on this path to success not only as baseball players, but as people. You've taught us how to work hard and be respectful to ourselves and others. I know it's very hard on you not being able to attend all of our games because of the endless hours of care Grandpa needs, but without you dedicating your time, Grandpa wouldn't be happy and wouldn't have the same quality of life he has now. Know that every time I step on the field, I'm playing for you, always with the goal to make you proud. You truly are the sweetest person I've ever met, always putting others before yourself. Someday, I hope to be half the person you are today. I know college will be really hard on you, the family and myself, but you've done a great job preparing me. No matter how big I get or how far away I go, I'll always be your little boy. I love you, Mom, and thank you.

Love, Brennan


To: Jane Carr

From: Matt Carr, Carle Place soccer

Dear Mom,

I cannot thank you enough for all the things you have done for me. I will never forget what you did for me in the Long Island Championship Game. I ended up with a gash along my right eyebrow and a chipped tooth and the first thing that came to my mind was, "My mom is going to kill me," but you didn't. Instead, even though you didn't want me to play in the regional game with my stitches, you still drove me to multiple doctors to get me cleared to play. Without you, I may not have been able to help my team win a state championship. You're the best mom a kid could ask for, and I want to wish you a happy Mother's Day.

Love, Matt


To: Claudette Plaschka

From: Justin Plaschka, Hauppauge swimming

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope you have a great day because you deserve it and it's yours. I really can't tell you how much I appreciate everything you do for me. From chauffeuring me back and forth or being my personal chef 24/7. For the past decade, ever since I've started swimming, you've been my biggest supporter and you really have helped me to get where I have gotten. You are my biggest fan and really one of the only reasons I have succeeded so much. I know without you, I would not be where I am now. I really could not ask for a better mom and I want you to know I love you so much! Enjoy your day and relax because you deserve it. Thank you for everything you do for me.

I love you,



To: Debbie Smith

From: Nick and Jamie Smith, Massapequa volleyball

There are a lot of special things to say about our mom. Over the years she has guided us through tough times in school and taught us every step of the way in volleyball and helped us become the people and athletes we are today.

She has made many trips to come see us play in club and high school volleyball. Also, she is in charge of the booster club for Massapequa Boys Volleyball, which is a tremendous contribution to the program as a whole. She makes sure everything is in check through ordering clothing, organizing car washes and planning a great awards dinner. She has put so much time into allowing us and our older brothers Brian and Christian, who are now playing at New Paltz, to follow our dreams and to make us successful volleyball players. Our mom is the best cheerleader we'll ever have.


Nick and Jamie


To: Ila Eckhoff

From: Peri Eckhoff, Bay Shore softball

Dear Mom,

It's hard to put into words how much you really mean to me. From the time I was little, you've always done everything in your power to ensure I had the opportunities to create a bright future for myself. Now that I'm going off to college, I'm beginning to realize how right you were when you tried to explain to me that "it only gets harder from here." The life lessons you've taught me and will continue to teach me are something I will always cherish.

It's an understatement to say that the events of the past year have taken a toll on us as a family. In one year, we've been through more than most people have to deal with in a decade. Through the constant back-and-forth of leaning on each other for support, we made it. You've somehow managed to still have a positive outlook on life, which is something that inspires me every day.

You are by far the most inspiring person I've ever met. Having the confidence and strength you possess on a daily basis is something that I will always revere. One of your most admirable traits is your unwillingness to give up, which is demonstrated in everything you do.

I will never properly be able to commend you for what you've done for me or even begin to explain the impact you've had on my life but I will never stop trying. I love you. Happy Mother's Day!

Love, Peri

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