BY NUHA ISLAM
From the outside, February 22nd seemed like any other Wednesday night at CCHS. But past the band’s reverberating drum beats and the polo team practicing late night, an intense match of faculty versus student basketball was underway. Even more spirited than the game, is the story behind the fundraiser; how the legacy of two former CCHS students lives on through athleticism and scholarship.
“We’ve never actually won, the staff rigs it at the end, or that’s what we say,” four year competitor and basketball team member Cayla Yellens said. “They, of course, deny it. But in all seriousness, it’s really fun to play against teachers and staff you see everyday in a different environment.”
The game resulted in a faculty win 80-78, with a nail biting comeback from a 37-43 half-time scoreboard in favor of the students. Both the CCHS boys’ and girls’ teams played. The score was lump sum, with each group playing two alternate quarters.
At the end of each quarter, sweaty teams gathered at the bench for a well deserved break, while cheerleaders and members of the marching band performed.
“I rooted for teachers tonight, some of my favorites were out there, like Ms. Hobin,” said CCHS sophomore Olivia Papani “Usually you don’t get that dynamic between teachers and students where they are seen as equals.”
The three dollar entry fee went towards the James and Lindsey Layer Memorial Scholarship, awarded to CCHS athletes during their senior year. At least one girl and boy gets awarded $1000 for answering the essay questions “What does family mean to you?” and “If you could do something over again, what would it be, and what have you learned the first time?”
“The girls basketball team first got involved through Mr. Zachardi, who was coach previously,” coach Lorraine Brown said. “He was close with Lindsey and Jimmy, before they passed.”
Because of the enormous success of the event, Brown is thinking of turning it into a semi-annual event, or encouraging other sports to follow suit.
“Often times we have enough for six students to win the scholarship,” Brown said.
Raising thousands of dollars is no easy feat; preparations for the event go up seven months. 2017 marks the sixth year the game took place. The scholarship goes back even further, inspired by one sister’s influx of florals.
“At the funeral for Jimmy, a bunch of people donated so many different flowers that we didn’t know what to do with them. It seemed so unnecessary, we were up to our necks in flowers,” scholarship founder Stacey Layer said. “When Lindsey passed, we asked the same people to donate that money instead. That is when we got the idea to start scholarship instead.”
Ever since, the community has been pooling their resources to help make the Staff vs. student game possible. In the crowd of people, CCHS alumni, parents and students all came together.
Best Buddies members volunteered to help raise funds during the game. In the fourth corner, Alex Soloman and Madelynn Dolan ran a busy snack bar, selling over 250 products by the end of the game.
“Sports teach us how to juggle activities and manage time,” CCHS freshman and basketball player Kaia Cappel said. “The scholarship is a great idea, and the game was a great time for everyone involved.”