TOWNSEND-- The schoolhouse tradition of students versus teachers is once again making an appearance at Hawthorne Brook Middle School -- not in the classrooms, of course, but on the basketball courts. The annual student/faculty basketball game, which will be held on March 8 from 6-8 p.m. in the high school gym, has been the parent-teacher organization's biggest fundraiser for years, said PTO president Heidi Stadler.

"We've enjoyed a pretty full house the past few years. It's a great community event that we would like to invite everybody to," said Stadler.

During the game, the eighth grade boys' and girls' basketball teams will combine to form one large student body team. They will be going up against a team of volunteer faculty members, including their own teachers. The PTO supplies all of the players with water throughout the night to make sure they remain hydrated.

The PTO will also be recruiting the music department for a performance of the national anthem.

"We try to incorporate everybody," said Stadler.

Pizza, snacks and drinks will be sold, and a combo meal deal of pizza, chips and a beverage will be available. There will also be a master of ceremonies, music and entertainment.

For the entertainment, said Stadler, "We try to get somebody that's been a really good community supporter."

The PTO will also be reviving the annual tradition of "chuck-a-ducks.


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" Attendees at the game can buy a duck in advance of or during the first and second quarters of the game. Each duck is $3, or two for $5. After the third quarter, a bull's eye will be set up in the middle of the court. Attendees with ducks will throw them towards the bull's eye; the one that hits the closest to the bull's eye takes home a 50/50 cash prize. All the chuck-a-ducks are numbered to correspond with the throwers' tickets.

Tickets and chuck-a-ducks will be sold at Hawthorne Brook school lunch periods on March 7 and 8. Tickets bought in advance are $5. Tickets will be sold at the door on the night of the event for $6, but students can buy tickets for the whole family at the pre-buy price.

The PTO expects to sell anywhere between 300 and 500 tickets. Stadler said they also need at least 20 to 25 volunteers to help run the event.

The whole event takes a couple of months the plan, including gathering names of volunteers and faculty team members, making new t-shirts for the players, hiring the entertainment and asking for donations from local stores, pizza places and parents for food.

"There's so much in the background that goes on. There's a ton of different pieces that have to be pulled together," said Stadler. "When I say it's a community event, it really is a community event."

Their annual goal is $3,000 to $4,000; they have not yet hit the latter, but it's a number they strive for.

"With the economy in such a huge downturn, our budget, like everybody else's, has taken an enormous hit the past few years. We scrimp and save every possible way we can. People shop and put donations out there. There are some generous people out there," said Stadler.

If the PTO can make at least $3,000 from the game, said Stadler, it helps get the group off the ground for the next school year. Each year, the PTO helps fund a variety of costs in the school.

"Our big thing is we try to help those needs in the school that are no longer in the budget-- small line item needs," said Stadler.

On the extensive list of costs the PTO has helped with are: Mathematical novels for the math department, illuminated hand-held microscopes and batteries for the fifth grade science department, a new digital scale for the health office, two Blu-ray/DVD players and a green screen.

"Just really line item things that just really enhance the school and learning, plus make everything more pleasant for a teaching environment," said Stadler. "We try to keep up with technology as much as can."

They also donate to a variety of school events and programs, such as Project Graduation and the eighth grade celebration and awards night. They regularly offset the cost of field trips. 

Although the basketball game is hard work to plan, it's worth it, said Stadler.

"It's a really fun event. It's something we truly love to do," she said.