The Students versus Staff charity basketball game brought in laughs, cheers and donations for the school’s food pantry.
By KRYSTAL NURSE
Eighth-grade girls and boys basketball players tipped-off against teachers and administrative officials on March 13 to raise money for the Clearview Regional Middle School’s local food pantry.
Organizer and math teacher Karisa Wescott said the game has been around for five years, and each year a different charity is chosen as the recipient of donations.
“One year we donated to a homeless foundation, then to cancer research, so it’s nice to do something where we’re giving back,” she said. “It all started because I run a yearbook club, and the events staff said they wanted to do an events page and we didn’t have a whole lot of events. I said, ‘why don’t we run one?’”
The staff team included Nicole Santoro, Pete Defeo, Peter Burgio, Daniel Fellona, Thomas Guida, Kevin Leamy, Natalie Johnson, Kate Bourguin, Derrick Reagan, Rob MacKerchar, Michael Zappala, Dave Little, Karisa Wescott and Casey Heitman.
The student team consisted of Olivia Gahan, Ryan Remaly, Payton Foster, Mia Martorano, Kassidy Thompson, Sarah Wall, Emma Steidle, Aaryn Battle, Beth Lindenbaum, Greta Farestad, Gabby Carter, Matt Bell, Rocco Cirone, Chris Coudriet, Joey Heise, James Ianelli, Daniel Mason, Nick Pepe, Ryan Stanton and John Tyler.
“It’s so much fun,” said Wescott. “Teachers love it, the kids love it. We don’t really win because we’re getting older and they’re staying the same age, but it’s nice to give back and to find charities.”
Spectators were asked to make a $2 to $4 donation to the pantry in lieu of admission and requested to bring non-perishable foods to be added to the school’s pantry. Wescott said the donations will go to restocking the pantry and providing district families in need with food.
Wescott added teachers and students build up with excitement to the game as it’s a friendly competition between the two groups — which the teachers haven’t won since 2014.
“It’s cool to do something together where you get to let loose and have a little fun and laugh a bit,” she said. “We joke about how we’re not able to breathe while we’re playing out there, but they like coming to do something where they’re volunteering their time for a good cause.”
Other than the light-hearted culture around the games, Wescott said her favorite thing is seeing the school come out for a good cause in an informal event to raise money and to bring the spirit of “giving and not receiving.”
She added she hopes to organize more school-wide events like this to raise money for local charities, such as a staff and student volleyball game.
“Letting my kids see this and know how important is it to volunteer and help others, that’s what I get out of it this year,” she added. “I look forward to the fun and loud cheering.”
During the game, teachers and students were seen joking and engaging in friendly banter as the coaches on either side jeered at the referee. Teachers started off hot in the game leading the students by double digits, until students came back to win the game, 50–41.