TOWNSEND -- Seven years ago, the Hawthorne Brook Middle School Parent-Teachers Organization was on the verge of disbanding.
But it was quickly saved in part due to the organization of the faculty vs. students basketball game fundraiser, which was organized by then-PTO president Heidi Stadler. Stadler is no longer at the head of the event, but she has shifted into an advisor role for current PTO president Annette Freeman.
Tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., that healthy rivalry will be renewed inside North Middlesex Regional High School's Arthur Bartlett Memorial Gymnasium.
The basketball game brings out a healthy sense of school pride in Hawthorne Brook Middle School as the students want to beat the faculty. The same goes for the faculty -- they know that losing to the students will be fuel for constant teasing for the rest of the school year.
"For the PTO, it is really about bringing the community together," Stadler said. "So many times we focus on fundraising, but we still like to have an event like this that is great for everybody involved. The volunteers and teachers really enjoy it.
"There is just a lot that goes into planning an event like this behind-the-scenes," she said. "It is a great way for us to bridge between the middle school and the high school."
"We have been hosting the game for the past three or four years now at the high school," Freeman said. "It is the PTO's biggest fundraiser. I have not been to one of them, and I am excited to experience it. Our whole PTO board is brand new and Heidi Stadler and a previous board member are going to help us with the event so we are not all alone."
North Middlesex Regional High School Headmaster Dr. Christopher Chew will emcee the night's festivities, which include a live DJ.
"We have the administration involved at the high school," Stadler said. "You would be surprised with the number of people who have not been inside the high school, if they don't have kids there. The schools in the district try to bridge that gap, too, but this is just a fun way to do it."
Stadler and Freeman approached the high school and asked for their support in hosting the game.
"They have been great," Stadler said. "Their staff has been really supportive -- their custodians are amazing. The athletic director, James Bunnell, everybody from the administration on down has been great."
Fourteen boys and 16 girls have signed up to play in the exhibition along with 17 faculty members. The PTO has raked in close to $3,500 at previous games.
"Everything the PTO does, it goes back to the school," Stadler said. "The money buys supplies for the school like new technology and books, or helping fund items that might have fallen out of the budget. We present to the school committee what those budget needs are, and they certainly want their children to have the opportunities. We just get as much as we can."
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $6. Pizza and various concessions will be sold with all proceeds being directed toward the PTO fund.