Wayland football fans honor and remember Lauren Astley


Credit: Genevieve Morrison

Donations made at the Wayland Warriors’ Oct. 22 game went to the Lauren Dunne Astley Foundation. “Honoring these topics is important for the community because Lauren Astley affected the lives of the Wayland community immensely, and she is someone we all still learn about within our wellness curriculums today.” Senior Kaitlyn Mabe said. “To honor her all night in one of our biggest games will be something we all remember.”

Sophia Oppenheim

Wayland High School’s football team sported purple, and fans packed the stands in purple outfits on Friday, Oct. 22 in the game against Lincoln-Sudbury. They did this in honor of Lauren Dunne Astley and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Lauren Dunne Astley was tragically killed by her ex-boyfriend right after graduating from Wayland High School in 2011. Senior Kaitlyn Mabe posted in the “Wayland Fan Section 2022″ Facebook group to inform students to wear purple to the game.

“It’s incredibly important to honor Lauren Astley and her story and continue to spread awareness to our school,” Mabe said.

The Mentors in Violence Prevention Club contributed to making this night occur. The club is made up of seniors, and it’s run by wellness teachers Amanda Rukstalis and Scott Parseghian. Senior students are chosen to be part of the club after learning about it during their junior year wellness curriculum. At the game, the club hosted a drawing to collect donations for the Lauren Dunne Astley Foundation. One of the members, senior Mia Djafari, helped out at the club’s stand.

“Parents were donating and not even buying anything,” Djafari said. “The drawing was really to give back to the community, it [raised] excitement as well as [brought] people towards the table to tell them about our cause, and what we raised money for.”

The club’s main goal is to raise awareness about the importance of healthy relationships and sexual assault. Through the years, the Mentors in Violence Prevention Club has made these fundraisers a tradition to honor Lauren.

“I think the best thing that Wayland does is have [Mentors in Violence Prevention] and [Rape Aggression Defense], especially during junior year to help with rape prevention, and the escalation of rape,” Djafari said. “Teaching students about the warning signs of abusive and unhealthy relationships is very important. It is a big problem especially for young people, like when you’re exploring your first relationship. You’re going in blind and not really knowing what’s wrong and what’s right.”

Donations were collected at the club’s table or by members walking around the Wayland and Lincoln-Sudbury fan sections. By the end of the game, around $900 in donations were raised. Lauren father, Malcolm Astley, was able to attend the game and see how Lauren was honored.

Credit: Courtesy of Wayland football

“I could tell that [the game] made [Malcolm] happy, and he thanked us,” Djafari said. “I think it was a great moment for him to see people supporting the cause.”

The team honored Lauren on the field as well. All Wayland football players, including varsity player Sean Goodfellow, wore purple in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Lauren Astley.

“[Domestic violence awareness] is important to me because it’s something that can be stopped,” Goodfellow said. “With us wearing purple it shows that, as a team, we support this cause. This game, we hoped to raise awareness and make it known that if you’re in that situation you can talk to someone.”

WHS students created the “Wayland Fan Section 2022” Facebook group to allowsall students to know what the theme will be for future sporting events. There are more than 220 students in the group, and any student is welcome. The Facebook group was originally assembled by Goodfellow, who came up with the idea.

“[Kaitlyn and I] made the Facebook group, and we chose a person from each grade to also be an administrator. [We] invited a bunch of people, and now we have a big, stable Facebook group.” Goodfellow said.

The stands were packed on both sides of the field. Lincoln-Sudbury fans dressed in all white, and Wayland fans all wore purple.

“I felt loved [with all the fans being there] to be honest.” Goodfellow said. “Although the outcome of the game wasn’t awesome, it really was great to see that many people. To be able to look at the crowd and see all the purple made me smile. I love how this Facebook group has brought so many people together, and I’m excited to see everyone for our next games.”