Peet’s March Madness delivers fun, funds on range of activities

By Staff Writers Sabine Martin and Mia Dexter

Rows of students lined up on opposite ends of the old gym at Peet Junior High after school hours on Thursday, March 3. Gym teachers Will Carter and Ethan Jennings stood between them, counting down. “3 … 2 … 1 … DODGEBALL!” as both teams sprinted to the middle to grab the dodgeballs.

The players started chucking and dodging and going their hardest. Meanwhile, in the new gym, students and their choice of partners were shooting free-throws, focusing on making all 10 baskets and becoming champions. Simultaneously, in the library, students and their partners were putting their brain power to the test in a trivia contest.

All of this activity was part of the fourth year of the annual March Madness fundraising event at Peet Junior High. Students at Peet showed their school pride in the free-throw contest, silent auction, the book fair and dodge ball tournament.

“Students coming together to have a good time after school hours, and doing something different than what we do in school is really great,” Jennings said.

The March Madness event generates funds that Peet can use for future special projects.

“The school decides later when there is a need in the school. Two years ago, all of the new furniture in the library came from March Madness funds, so that year the library got benefitted, and the money could go to anything from new microscopes to new physical education equipment. It just depends on who needs it,” librarian Abigail Hendrickson said.

This year was the first year that March Madness hosted a book fair. “I had a spur of the moment ‘let’s try this’ when I realized a book fair would be great for Peet,” Hendrickson said. “I would not have done it without Mrs. Miller because she helped so much organizing things.”

Hendrickson displayed books in a small area of the library for people to look at and purchase. The goal was to sell $2,500 worth of books, which meant the host company, Scholastic, would give 50 percent of the money in credit to buy books from Scholastic.

“I had to use the money right back at Scholastic, which was not hard to do. We ended up getting about $1,300 in Scholastic money that can now benefit the library and students for their learning,” Hendrickson said.

Reigning champions of the 2016 basketball shootout, eighth grader Jayvon Ratleff and his father, defended their first place title. “I just like to hang out with my friends and play basketball,” Ratleff said. He and his father won a trophy and free T-shirts as their rewards.

The dodgeball tournament was easily the most anticipated activity of the night. Teams of five or six students and teachers went head to head for the first place spot.

“The dodgeball tournament is the best part about March Madness because everyone is diving around giving their hearts out to raise money for the school, which in the end, benefits everyone,” ninth grader Caiden Barnett said.

The Wahiti Wonders and The All-American Girls were a few of the many teams that had matching team uniforms.

All of the teams played hard until there were only two left: The Dodgers and Team Jamie. The final games were the most intense games of the night.

Carter thought that the first game was unfair, so there was a rematch. That rematch tied the two teams, leading to a tie breaker. By this time, the crowd was going wild. Students and parents were supportive and rooting for their teams as loud as they could.

Eventually, Team Jamie won the first place title. “Our motive for winning was for Jamie Smith, one of our teammate’s mom who has stage three cancer, so it was just fun to get together and do something we all love for a good cause,” Team Jamie member Zach Neese said.

With all of the excitement of the fourth annual March Madness fundraiser coming to a close, many students left with more love for Peet than ever.

“I think March Madness is important to this school because as part of a school, one of our goals is community outreach and to reach the parents and the families and bring them into Peet. It means that it isn’t always just about academics because we love to show school spirit too,” Hendrickson said.

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