Annual North Main basketball matchup is a lesson about coming together and helping others MONROE - The red and blue teams at North Main Elementary have been regularly practicing to be sure they’re on top of their game for what organizers consider to be the game of the year within the Monroe-Woodbury School District: The fourth annual St. North Main St. Jude’s Basketball Classic. Sure, the game offers annual bragging rights for the winning team and features the good-natured rivalry of teams coached by Matthew Kravatz, North Main principal, and Dolores Terlecky, assistant principal. But the North Main faculty believes the game is so much more important than what the final score will be. It’s a lesson, they say, about the importance of coming together as a school - and community - and helping those in need. For the past three years, North Main has raised $21,600 to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., which cares for children with cancer and other serious diseases. Like previous years, all proceeds will be donated to St. Jude in memory of a former North Main student who died of leukemia after a long battle with the disease. 2,000 people at last year’s game Kravatz knows there are many children in the community who are suffering from serious illnesses like that child every day. And he knows what that feels like himself, as a survivor of childhood cancer. The game was created to also help other children and their families who are facing similar challenges. More than 2,000 people attended the game last year, and organizers hope to exceed that number this year. “So often the kids root for their favorite team,” said second grade teacher John Cabrera, who is playing on Terlecky’s team. “But we want to instill in them that this is bigger than the game. Everyone is coming together. It’s about raising money.” Third grade teacher Jeanna Palmer, who will be playing against Cabrera, agreed. “Even though teachers are playing on two different teams, we’re showing kids we can work together,” Palmer said. “It’s also about sportsmanship. That’s what I want them to learn and that’s what I want them to know.” Second grade teacher Lisa Landau also wants students to see their teachers having fun outside the classroom too. “We want to show them we’re teaming up and becoming united,” said Landau, who - like others - was randomly picked to play on Kravatz’s team. “We want them to see us working together and coming together to raise money. They get to see us in a different light, not just in the classroom.” Teachers not playing on either team area also participate in other ways. “We want to bring some school spirit to the game,” said second grade teacher Donna DeStafeno, a member of the impartial cheerleading squad. “Some of us are just not the athletic type. So we want to do something that’s entertaining.” A picture of what we do every day’ While many students and their families will support Terlecky’s and Kravatz’s teams through the purchase of a red or blue t- shirt (with all proceeds benefitting St. Jude), Katie Oppelt, a third grade teacher who is serving as master of ceremonies, is planning to create her own half red/half blue shirt to show neutrality. To her, the game is the embodiment of the culture that North Main staff look to reinforce daily to students. “I feel North Main is so unique,” said Oppelt. “This game is just a full picture of what we do every day for our families and community.” North Main, as many area residents know, is the one school without defined classroom walls in just about all areas of the school. “Look,” she said, pointing up to the gap between the ceiling and the beginning of room dividers. “We have no walls here. We let our guard down. This game is the full personification of who we are. You feel that energy here; you’ll feel that energy at the game. It’s incredible.” - Nancy Kriz Who’s playing? “Red Team Terlecky” Amy Hotto AnnMarie Brezosky John Cabrera Kathleen McCabe Kerry Ferrara Liz Battiato Michael DiGeronimo, (BOE president) Michelle Pereira Rob Elser Sara Fisher Sarah Petroccitto Coach: North Main Assistant Principal Dolores Terlecky “Blue Team Kravatz” Cindy Glick Jeanna Palmer Jen Decker Joe Pesce Kerry Scheetz Lisa Landau Loraine Perrego Matt Kravatz Michelle Palminteri Pat Murray Coach: North Main Principal Matt Kravatz Essential information The Fourth annual North Main St. Jude’s Basketball Classic, sponsored by the North Main PTA “Team Kravatz vs. Team Terlecky” Friday, Nov. 19 at Monroe-Woodbury High School Gym in Central Valley at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. $5 per adult or $7 at the door. $3 per child under age 14. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the North Main PTA All proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., In its first three years, $21,600 has been raised ..ude.