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Bethlehem fundraiser takes a wacky turn

— For the past six years, Bethlehem Central faculty have gathered to play in a basketball game aimed at raising money to benefit the district’s classrooms. They’ll be doing the same this year, but with some notable twists.

In the past, the “March Madness” faculty basketball game has been hosted by the Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited group. BOU has put its efforts into organizing a spelling bee fundraiser, however, and the Bethlehem Central Community Foundation is stepping in to keep things rolling.

“It was important to our group to continue that (tradition), and we decided to make it even a little bigger,” said BCCF board member Karen Kissinger. “BCCF decided to pick it up and make some changes, make some fun stuff, divide it into two games so there is one that is more competitive and goofy, Harlem Globetrotter-ish.”

The audience will be able to partake in snacks from the Double Dribble Café and additional entertainment will be provided by the Hooligans Pep Band and BC student groups. In continuing with the carefree spirit of the “wacky game,” members of the crowd will be able to step in to take free throws for the team of their choice in exchange for a donation.

The BCCF has been in existence since 1998, founded as the BC Community & Alumni Endowment Fund, and today its primary goal is to raise money to provide grants to BC teachers for programs or equipment not covered in the school budget. Last year, for example, the organization funded the purchase of iPod Touches for kindergarten students to use at literacy and learning stations, among two other projects. Grant applications for this year are currently being vetted.

The “March Madness” starts on Friday, March 1, at 6 p.m., with the wacky game followed by the all star game at 7:30 p.m. The evening’s events will take place at the Bethlehem Central High School Gymnasium. Admission is $5 for the general public, $3 for elementary students and children 5 and under will be admitted free of charge. All proceeds will go to the BCCF.

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