On Thursday, April 25th, the Harlem Wizards versed the Valparaiso All Star Team at the Valparaiso High School Gymnasium to raise funds for the Valparaiso Elementary Schools. The All Star Team, coached by VHS head varsity basketball coach Joe Otis, was composed of staff members from Central Elementary, Cooks Corners Elementary, Flint Lake Elementary, Hayes Leonard Elementary, Immanuel Lutheran, Northview Elementary, Parkview Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Elementary.
Students of the elementary schools cheered their staff member on as they played a comical and fast-paced game of hoops, refereed by Valparaiso High School student Zach Meyer, against the talented Harlem Wizards. An excited student from Central Elementary school, clutching his newly autographed Harlem Wizards basketball, shared his favorite part of the event:
"My favorite was the dunking and the dancing! It makes me want to play basketball when I grow up," the student said.
The Harlem Wizards performed tricks, acted out comedic skits, held interactive crowd activities, and overall showed off their professional ball handling skills throughout the night. The members of the Harlem wizards also signed autographs, took pictures, danced, and talked with all the elementary school children. The Wizards weren't the only ones providing the entertainment though. A special guest appearance by the United Dance Arts Studio, led by VaNavia Ventura, performed a variation of dances that were followed by an open dance party on the court which gave the crowd an unforgettable halftime show. The Porter County Special Olympic Cheer Squad, directed by Caitlyn Gear, also pumped the crowd up by both their halftime performance, and their cheering from the sidelines.
The event was sponsored by County Inn & Suites, St. Mary Medical Center, BoyConn Printing, Coastal Valley, Dairy Queen, Sticky Figures Candy Company, Regional Federal Credit Union, Valparaiso Family Dentistry, Cavanaugh and Nondorf Orthodontics, Culvers, Thorgren Tool and Molding, Aurelio's Pizza, and Aldi.
Also, a thank you to all the staff members -both to those who were part of the game and those who cheered from the sidelines- for creating a truly unforgettable experience for both the elementary students and anyone else who attended to help support our schools.