Friday, March 15, 2024

Jordan-Small Middle School’s student-staff basketball game a fun tradition

By Matt Pascarella

It’s been a tradition at Jordan-Small Middle School (JSMS) in Raymond since 2003 that before February vacation, the school celebrates the end of the basketball season with a friendly student-staff game. This year on Friday, Feb. 16, JSMS staff members, students and coaches gathered in the gym to keep the tradition alive with coed staff teams playing 20- to 25-minute games against the school’s girls’ basketball team and then the boys’ basketball team.

Eighth grader Brooklyn Roy races to the basket during the
annual student-staff basketball game at Jordan-Small
Middle school in Raymond on Friday, Feb. 16.
“The purpose of the game is to celebrate the end of the season using the staff game as a culminating event,” said John Powers, who helped organize the event as well as teaches sixth and eighth-grade math at JSMS. “The entire school attends and they spend the time cheering on their friends and favorite teachers. We keep score but the game is friendly. It's fairly common for staff or students to give each other high fives when the other team makes a great play. I have personally played in the game every year since 2003 and it's always a ton of fun.”

One of the benefits of the games is the whole school getting to see their athletes in action. As not every student is able to attend games during basketball season, this gives them the opportunity to see the results and all the hard work that the athletes put in.

Powers said the game has that old-school pep rally feel to it. Getting the entire school together for a friendly competition is a great way to spend the final hour before February vacation, he said.

He grew up playing basketball through high school and always enjoyed it. He’s been coaching at JSMS for many years and says while it’s fun for the adults to compete against the students, it’s also fun to be on a team with colleagues doing something they often don’t get to do.

One of the highlights for Powers this year was JSMS eighth grader Sean Lebel, who made a deep three-pointer from just over half court. The crowd went wild and everyone on the court celebrated with high fives.

“As a student-athlete playing in the game, I was just trying to score on the teachers as much as possible,” said JSMS graduate and boys’ basketball coach Andrew Wing. “You really wanted to beat the staff because it has never happened before. As an alum-coach playing in the game, you are simply trying to not get embarrassed by the talented young student athletes and you also don’t want to be the first staff team that loses to the students.”

According to Wing, the game is important not only because it’s a tradition, but it’s fun for the student athletes.

For Wing, playing with the teachers instead of the students was a nice full-circle moment.

The games were also meaningful for the student athletes.

“The thing that I like most about the game is that you are able to play against teachers and staff members that you have formed relationships with over the past few years,” said Sean Lebel. “The student-staff game gives you an opportunity to have fun and bond with the people and players around you. It is a great experience to have the whole school watching you while you play basketball. Everybody in the crowd cheers both teams on and always stays positive even if somebody makes mistakes.” <

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