The second annual “Shooting for the Stars” event at Fort Couch Middle School Thursday night brought out parents, teachers and children in droves to support a local charity, Grady’s All Stars, to benefit two Upper St. Clair boys, Drew and Trent Grady who have Batten Disease.
More than 750 people bought the $5 tickets at the door, which will help the family pay for medical bills and prescription medications. There were raffles, a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction.
The Fort Couch Teachers schooled their competition, the Boyce Middle School teachers, in a charity basketball game with a final score of 52 for the home team, and 29 for their rivals at Boyce.
Physical education teacher Dana Mellinger was tearing up the court, keeping up with men who towered over her. At the end of the third period, the teacher from Boyce was drenched with sweat, but offered up a big smile: “This is so amazing. We get to get out there and teach them about physical fitness and raise money for charity.”
Frenzied fans from both schools cheered on their favorite teachers. Emma Rabold, Claire Kraskey, Karissar Lavezoli, Tess Dupree and Anna Billetdeaux decorated themselves for the occasion, wearing body paint, holding signs and cheering on Boyce. They were joined by Robbie Saghy, who was a bit more subdued in his support for his school.
For many of the students, the charity’s biggest draw of the evening was a chance for the kids to hit their teachers in the face with a pie. Teachers from both schools were creamed in this event.
Brad Wilson, one of the event organizers, said, “It’s great! The kids really support the charity. It gets bigger and better every year.”
Michael Besser entered the raffle and won a chance to hit his math teacher, Sarah Smith, in the face with a mound of whipped cream on a paper plate. Besser said, “She was afraid it was going to me. I’m bigger than the other kids in class."
Besser is an A student in math, though his friends quickly pointed out, his grades may slip after planting his teacher’s face in a pie.
After wiping the whipped cream from his face, Smith’s colleague, Justin Gremba, who teaches reading and math, said, “For this cause, I’d do this every day. Whatever it takes.”
Teacher Carol Booth remarked to her student, Jason Levy, “We’re both going to remember this for the rest of our lives.” The young boy agreed and then walloped her with whipped cream.
“We had so many volunteers," Wilson said. "Teachers, students, friends and family.”
Tenth-grader Mackenzie Bayer gathered exciting prizes for the silent auction. The highest bidder won baskets filled with a myriad of gifts. There were items from Sabika jewelry, Learning Express, Penguin tickets and a basket filled with gift certificates to local restaurants. Steve O’Brien took home a cherished collectible from Bayer’s baskets, an autographed jersey from Penguin Pascal Dupuis. Bayer’s baskets raised $1,360.00.
Bayer added, “I’m really glad to help them. It’s a great cause for a great