Kids play hoops with heart
By Linda Lemond Post-Tribune correspondent April 4, 2013 2:10PM
Aylesworth Elementary School fourth-grader Holly Heldt shoots at the Hoops for Hearts teacher-student basketball game. | Photo provided
Updated: May 6, 2013 6:10AM
Poet Mattie Stepanek said, “Unity is strength ... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
This was definitely the case at Aylesworth Elementary School in Portage recently. Teamwork, collaboration and effort came together in a unique fundraiser.
Their two-week project, Hoops for Hearts, provided educational opportunities and healthy and fun activities and raised $6,212 for the American Heart Association.
Physical education teacher Cathy Constandars used Hoops for Hearts to teach her students not only basketball techniques but also academic lessons.
“I had basketball challenges all week — free throws, passing, how many baskets can you make in a minute, etc. The challenges incorporated reading, social studies, math and science, too. For example, the kids could try to shoot a basket from each of the seven continents.”
“All the activities led up to the student-teacher basketball game,” she continued. “We’ve done this for a number of years and the kids really look forward to it. The fourth- and fifth-graders can enter their names in a raffle to be the captain for their grade’s team. It cost a dollar for each entry.”
There were other parts to the fundraiser. Students gathered donations from family, friends and neighbors. Students and staff paid a dollar a day to don a hat on two different Hat Days. On March 22, the day of the teacher vs. student basketball game, the PTO donated popcorn. Students could buy a bag to enjoy at the game for 25 cents.
Fourth-grader Zander Marcotte and fifth-grader Dominick Reyna won the raffle. As captains for their respective grades, they selected six other students to make up their teams.
Fourth-graders Keyan Ridgeway, Hunter Duvall, Shawn Grubbs, Mark Perez, Holly Heldt and Piper Perryman were chosen by Marcotte. Reyna selected Jordon Brown, Saige Walleske, Caleb Downs, Tallon Uporsky, Matthew Noble and Christopher Jansen.
The students took on the faculty team of Constandars, Brittany Lewis (kindergarten), Angie Wyatt (home-school adviser), Becky Mitcheltree (fifth), Kat Queram (fifth), Chris Nixon (fifth) and Carrie Biggs (third).
After principal Tara Wiltfong thanked the students and teachers for their efforts, Portage Township Schools superintendent Ric Frataccia threw up the opening jump ball to begin the game. The faculty took on the fourth-graders first. The gathered students yelled and applauded for every basket, whether made by a student or teacher.
During halftime, the kindergartners and first-graders swarmed the floor and danced the Cha Cha Slide. Second- and third-graders danced the Macarena, and fourth- and fifth-graders, the Cupid Shuffle. The teachers’ score returned to zero, and the fifth-graders took the floor to battle against their teachers.
Although the teachers won the game according to the scoreboard, everyone felt like a winner at the end.
“It was fun playing against the teachers,” Matthew Noble said.
“I liked watching the basketball game and getting to wear a hat for Hat Day,” Angel Maupin said.
“This is by far our biggest year of helping the American Heart Association. We brought in more than double what we did last year,” Constandars said. “We did a lot more advertising and offered the kids additional incentives. We pumped it and plumped it and did a lot more online. The kids really came through.”