Staff and parents from nine elementary schools in Leesburg will transform into the Leesburg Lightning on Friday to take on the Harlem Wizards, a professional team that performs for schools, charities, colleges, corporations, communities and private events.
The teacher-parent basketball team, made up of players from Ball’s Bluff, Catoctin, Cool Spring, Evergreen Mill, Frances Hazel Reid, Frederick Douglass, Leesburg, Sycolin Creek, and John W Tolbert, formed as a way to raise money for the purchase of a new playground at Frederick Douglass Elementary School, Balls Bluff parent Sharon Wright said.
Participants are also hoping it will bring the community back together, she said, following a year of heated debates over school boundary issues within the town.
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“It was so contentious in Leesburg. It was such a tense time amongst the schools,” Wright said. “The fact that we’re doing a playground for Frederick Douglass, that’s the most logical gift, if you will. But the whole reason for doing it is really to bring these schools together again and try to rebuild a community amongst many that were not happy with one another because of the contentious boundary debate.”
Jennifer Boyd, president of the Catoctin Elementary School PTA, said this will be no ordinary basketball game. With the start of a new school year, everyone has managed to put the past behind them, she said, and move forward for the common good of all children.
“It is our desire that this event will rebuild community spirit and raise much needed funds for Frederick Douglass Elementary School to build a playground for their children,” Boyd said. “We are grateful for the support and we appreciate the way the parents of the Leesburg elementary schools have come together to support our new school.”
Principle Timothy Martino, who will participate in Friday’s game, said he is grateful for the support his new school is receiving. The local team will include around 24 players, including 18 staff members, five parents and School Board Member Tom Reed.
The game will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tuscarora High School. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. Prices will be slightly higher at the door.
Tickets can be purchased directly from any of the participating elementary school PTAs or online. Participants are asked to bring a pre-packaged food item to support the Leesburg Backpack Buddies program.