The Harlem Wizards nearly blew the roof off the Valparaiso High School gymnasium Friday night! They faced the Valpo All-Stars in a game to raise money for the Valpo Schools Foundation and the great work they do throughout the city’s elementary, middle, and high schools.
The Wizards have been criss-crossing America and dazzling crowds for over 50 years. They brought fans to their feet with dynamic energy, hilarious skits and immense athleticism. Kids had a hard time staying in their seats as the Wizards performed high-flying jams, long range shots and intricate skills while music blasted and the Wizards’ MC hyped up the crowd of over 2000.
Harlem Wizard, and the “Hardest Working Man In Show Basketball,” Duane “Swoop” Simpson, stole the spotlight as he marched into the stands and pulled down fans, young and old, to take part in the antics or play in the game.
“We’ve had such a great time traveling state to state for the past 50 plus years putting smiles on faces and helping raise money for local charities and foundations like the Valpo Schools Foundation.” Swoop said. “ We’re really happy to be here.”
The Valpo All-Stars weren’t to be intimidated though. The lineup of local teachers and administrators from various community schools did their best to keep things close. The artistry of the Wizards rubbed off on the All-Stars who were knocking down shots and playing well in the first half. Ultimately, the Wizards talent was too exceptional for the homegrown talent narrowly edging the All-Stars by twelve points as time expired.
There helping to coordinate the event was Brett Galloway, COO of the Valpo Schools Foundation.
“This event is a great time every year,” Galloway said. “We’ve had the Wizards here for the last several years and this is the biggest one we’ve seen so far. It’s really generated a lot of interest and that helps to raise money for our grants and scholarships which is why we do this.”
The Valpo Schools Foundation helps young people throughout the community schools meet their educational and personal goals. Through their student scholarships they help seniors who will be continuing their education by easing some of the burden of the high cost of attending college. The Foundation also issues grants to classrooms to promote innovative teaching ideas or to supply classes with much needed educational resources and materials.
Attending the game was Rob Cavanaugh from Cavanaugh and Nondorf Orthodontics, a sponsor for the event.
“This is such a wonderful time for us and the kids are having a blast,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s so important for us to donate our time and resources to events like these. They bring the community together and provide our students and classrooms with the tools they need to succeed.”
Also sponsoring the event was: Hampton Inn, Good Quality Services, Valparaiso Family Dentistry, Thorgen Tool and Moulding, Elegan Customwear, Dairy Queen, Culver’s, Aurelio’s Pizza, and Coastal Valley Water Company.