Snyder memorial dinner set for Tuesday

This was supposed to be the beginning of Nicole Snyder's senior softball season, the culmination of a blossoming multi-sport career at Douglas High School.

When her classmates gather to host the second annual Nicole Snyder Memorial Scholarship Dinner on Tuesday, they will instead be saying one last good-bye to the Gardnerville resident who died at the age of 16 in a car accident on Highway 395 near Genoa Lane in July 2004.

"The seniors this year, these are the ones that Nicole would have graduated with," said Douglas High teacher Ernie Monfiletto, who leads the school's letterman's club, Block D. "They grew up with her, played sports with her. This is an important event for them."

A percentage of all the proceeds from the dinner, which begins Tuesday night at 5 p.m. at the Barone & Reed Food Company in Minden, will go toward the Nicole Snyder Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The proceeds, however, are the least of the concerns for this group of seniors.

"I'm glad we're able to give something back to the memory of Nicole," Douglas cheerleader Sara Miller said. "This is a way we are able to keep her alive and allow the memory of her to benefit athletes at this school in the future.

"That's what this is all about - remembering Nicole."

Rallying support for last year's dinner wasn't hard, simply because Snyder touched so many lives with her support.

"She supported everything, she was there for every game," Douglas cheerleader Jennifer Kimball said. "She would go full out, she never just wore normal clothes. She'd get all painted up and she was always cheering, even for the cheerleaders."

Miller agreed.

"She was always trying to make us teach her the cheers and then she'd try to do them with us. It was always special having her there."

Her teammates also grew fond of Snyder's enthusiasm.

"I played softball with her and she was one of the funnest people I ever played sports with," Whitney Estes, who has played volleyball and softball for Douglas, said. "She was always happy, never down. She had so much energy."

The turnout for last year's dinner, also held at Barone & Reed, was overwhelming. Monfiletto said more than $4,000 was raised from donations raised on Snyder's behalf.

Monfiletto said the memorial scholarships were awarded to Douglas athletes who excelled on the playing field, in the classroom and in the community.

"It was just incredible to see the community come together and do something for the kids that play sports at Douglas," Douglas runner and danceline member Sarah Rowe said. "It was neat to see something created that would last and hopefully keep that part of Nicole alive in this community."

Monfiletto said the dinner was also a way the Douglas athletes could thank Snyder's parents, John and Patti, who have been regular attendees at most Tiger sporting events since Snyder's death.

"John and Patti showed up to every volleyball game," Estes said. "They'd come up and give me a big hug after every game and talk to all of us for a bit. It meant a lot to us to have them there."

The Snyders have been extremely supportive in getting the memorial scholarship fund established, Monfiletto said.

"Her mom and dad have been so active in supporting this," Monfiletto said. "Last year, we were really kind of overwhelmed by the response from the community. One thing I wanted to continue to do was remember Nicole and use this night as a true tribute to who she was and who her family is.

"I think it should also serve as a reminder every day that every moment we have is precious."

The dinner will run through the restaurant's closing time and is open seating only. Barone & Reed is located at 1599 Esmeralda Ave., in Minden. Donations can also be made to the Block D Club. For more information, contact Monfiletto at the high school at 782-5136.

n Joey Crandall can be reached at or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.


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