—By Danielle Brubaker & Emma Kileen—

On January 24, Student Council hosted the second annual Harlem Wizards game in the North gymnasium to raise money for future activities.  The Harlem Wizards is an exhibition basketball team whose primary goal is to entertain.  The team performs a wide array of wild tricks, from stealing purses from audience members to stealing small children from the parents in the stands.  The Wizards faced off against a team composed of district teachers.

The game was open to anybody from the district, elementary schools on up.  The humor and antics, however, seemed more geared toward younger children, making the game a family event.  North’s Student Council planned and ran the event.

Freshman Dillon Henry said the Harlem Wizards game is unlike most other fundraisers.  “The Wizards aren’t really like anything else we do, because we invite the whole district and we get the Wizards to perform, rather than just get a DJ, like what we do for events like homecoming,” Henry said.

Before the game, Student Council sold merchandise including basketballs and t-shirts bearing Harlem Wizards logos.

This was the first time many of the participating teachers, such as Marcey Brown-Denson, a gym teacher from Town Center, had attended the Harlem Wizards game.  “I was recruited.  They heard I was a beast on the court,” said Brown-Denson, a former high school basketball player.  “Time to come out of retirement.”

Ryan Smith, who also teaches at Town Center, said, “I never decided to get involved, since I have no basketball skills whatsoever, but this year our gym teacher, Mrs. Brown, talked me into joining the staff team with her.”

“I’m certainly expecting some of the Town Center students to laugh at me,” Smith added.

From the stands, children danced and laughed at the Harlem Wizards’ entertaining tricks.  “It was very interesting and I liked getting to see teachers from other schools in the district play basketball, including my third grade teacher,” said Julianna Yasson, a sophomore at North.

Dutch Neck Spanish teacher Dan Siegel was another first-time participant.  “I got involved in Harlem Wizards when a couple of the players came to Dutch Neck to put on a brief show for the kids and talk about the event,” Siegel said.  “Shruti Marathe and Ritu Vyas, both former students of mine, asked me if I wanted to play in the game.  They asked me in Spanish, so how could I refuse?” Marathe, a senior, and Vyas, a junior, both attend North.

“I got involved because I love the game of basketball and I try to give back to the community that I grew up in and love,” said Frank Moore, a teacher at North and a two-time Harlem Wizards game participant.

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