It was a heartfelt game played in the name of healthy hearts.
A slam dunk success is how Fair Haven’s Knollwood School sixth graders, borough police and firefighters described the recent Hoops for Hearts basketball game at the school to benefit the American Heart Association.
“The entire school was full of energy, camaraderie was high, and everyone put their heart into this effort,” Knollwood Physical Education/Health teacher and event organizer Kim Lagrotteria said in a release. “Hoops for Hearts is an event that you will see again at Knollwood School.”
The Feb. 6 basketball tournament, comprising several games, pitted the “celebrity” police officers and firefighters against two teams of sixth graders on the court in what was dubbed a “fast-paced Championship Basketball Game,” Celebrity Kock-Out, and Half-Court Challenge, the release added.
The “celebrities” garnered the top score in the Championship game. The sixth graders won the Celebrity Knock-Out Game, which left a sixth grader as the last player left standing. And the Half-Court Challenge was one which involved the students making donations to the American Heart Association getting chances to sink basketballs.
The participants took their best shots as Lagrotteria, Andrea Mrusek of the American Heart Association, “celebrities,” and classmates cheered them on. Prizes were awarded to those who made baskets.
The “celebrities” ended up with the top score in the Championship Game, but the $7,560 netted in event proceeds, which was more than double the $3,500 donation goal, was the bigger win, Lagrotteria said.
With roughly 119 students participating, they “helped motivate one another to reach their personal fundraising and physical education participation goals,” said Lagrotteria in the release. “Students in other grades were asking how they could become a part of the event in the future, and donated money to help achieve our school’s goal.
“This event not only brought great attention to a great cause, it also brought the school together.”
Hoops for Hearts activities took place during the month of February, designated American Heart Month by the American Heart Association.
There were incentives put in place by Lagrotteria for students to meet the original $3,500 fundraising goal.
Students were awarded small rubber ducks, which they donned during the school day, in recognition of their efforts. And Lagrotteria, herself, promised to wear a duck costume if the school’s goal was met. That promise was kept (the photo above shows).
In addition to the main fundraiser, Hoops for Hearts featured activities throughout the month that were designed to promote physical fitness. Another basketball tournament featuring all of the sixth graders was held during regular Physical Education classes.
Players in the Championship Basketball Game and cheerleaders were all members of the sixth-grade Physical Education class that raised the largest amount of funds for the American Heart Association.
Cheerleaders were: Brett-Cetnar Garrett, Caroline Danaher, Bridget Mikolajczyk, Charlotte Stant, Emma Walker, Maia Werner and Kitty White.
Basketball players were: John Baker, Jack Costello, Wyatt Kemler, Aidan Kilfeather, David Livingston, Michael Strulowitz, Robby Sypeck, Jack Theodore, Spencer Torine and Drew Venancio.