To help raise money for the Owego Elementary Parent Teacher Organization and the Apalachin Parent Teacher Group, members of the Owego School District will take on the legendary Harlem Wizards in what is sure to be an entertaining but one-sided basketball game on Jan. 14 at Owego Free Academy, located at 1 Sheldon Guile Blvd. The game begins at 6:30 p.m. and the doors will open at 5:30 p.m. For ticket information, visit https://www.harlemwizards.com/schedule-tickets/.
Instead of doing a normal fundraiser, Cindy Short, Owego Elementary (OE) PTO treasurer, said that everyone thought playing the Harlem Wizards would be the more engaging option for the community.
“We were trying to figure something out that wasn’t like a book sale, something else that was different. Someone mentioned the Wizards would do the fundraiser, so I contacted them and got that set up,” said Short.
While the majority of the funds raised will go to the OE PTO, Short said that the Apalachin Parent Teacher Group would keep $2 of every ticket they sell for the game for their own group. With over 300 tickets already sold, Short said that the community response to the game has been outstanding.
“It’s going to be high energy, not your typical basketball game and the Harlem Wizards will be doing (basketball related) tricks during the game,” Short said.
That won’t be the entirety of the game though, because with over 20 participants from throughout the school district there are some pretty good basketball players amongst the group.
“In the third quarter we are going to put our best players into the game and actually try to play a real game,” Short said.
Along with coming up for the game, Short said members of the Wizards would be sharing positive messages with students.
“The day of the game they will come to the elementary and middle schools to show students what the game is about and sharing positive messages. We think wrapping that into sports with the community is another reason why this is better than a regular fundraiser,” Short added.
During the game there will be pizza, refreshments, school choirs singing the national anthem and local cub scouts doing a flag presentation.
“The business community is also really helping us out, Tioga Downs is giving us free rooms, while discounting other rooms for the players to stay while they are here,” Short said.
Short added that along with the sponsors and volunteers the game wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of local volunteers.
“Volunteers will also be helping us out on game night, we really couldn’t do it without them,” Short said.
Players and participants include Jessica Barnes, AES 4th Grade Teacher; Hannah Woodburn, OES 2nd Grade Teacher; Leah French, OFA School Counselor; Heather Chrysler, AES 3rd Grade Teacher; Amanda Heath, OES 1st Grade Teacher; Julie McEvoy, OES 4th Grade Teacher (tentative); Chris Cartwright, JV Basketball Coach; Joseph Shambo, OES Kindergarten Teacher; Melissa Aubel, OES 1st Grade Teacher; Erica Darpino, OFA 10th Grade Biology Teacher; Brianna Prince, OES Special Ed Teacher; Maryann VanHouten, AES Gym Teacher; Meredith Sagor, Tioga United Way Executive Director; Craig York, Head Custodian; Tommy Woodburn, OPD; Sam Spooner, AES AIS Teacher; Chris Evans, Varsity Basketball Coach; Greg Woolever OES, Gym Teacher; Tom Beatty, AES Principal; Amy Palmer, AES Teacher Aide; George VanHouten AES Art Teacher; Tessa Pozzi-Morgan, AES Teacher; Perry Silvestri, AES Gym Teacher; Owego Mayor Michael Baratta; Ken Francisco, OES Principal; Referee Thomas Bronk; Photographer Janet Tiffany; Scoreboard Operator Francine Reynolds; Physical Therapist Cole Lewis; Flag presentation by Cub Scout Pack #37, led by Shanna Stevens; and OES and AES Select Choir to sing National Anthem led by Becky Merges and Amanda Shoemaker.
Sponsors include Ice Cream Works, Home Central, Mario’s, Susquehanna Printers, Cady & Son LLC, The Laughing Place, Tioga Downs Casino Resort, Simple Form Pilates, Anything Artistic, Scott Smith and Son, and Sugar Maple Café.
Volunteers include Cindy Short, Angela Preston, Jessica Hust, Kaela Chase, Danita Brooks, Erika Bronk, Andrea Gregory, Kim DeVita, Janice Koncak, Becky Merges, Jeannette Marinich, Chris Marinich, Kristina Bensley, Jenn Crandal, Kathryn Thole, Linda Charton, and Michelle McLaren.