BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The 20th Annual All-Star Faculty Basketball game was held on Tuesdayt at  Governor Livingston High School. The event’s purpose is to raise money for the Berkeley Heights Education Foundation (BHEF), which was found in 1994. The BHEF, through grants, allows teachers and administrators to pursue imaginative educational programs, some involving technology, within the Berkeley Heights School District.

The yearly faculty basketball game reveals an immense amount of school spirit, as well as community support towards the Berkeley Heights School District. The Governor Livingston gym was overflowed with community members from the time doors opened at 6:15 p.m. While the basketball game was the main attraction, it wasn’t the only source of entertainment, the night offered students the opportunity to showcase their talents.

Dr. Patrick Smith was the presenting Sponsor, from the Smith Chiropractic Foundation and Smith Chiropractic Family Care and Sports Injury Center. Promptly after the third quarter performance, Smith conveyed his views on the importance of public education before pulling the winning ticket for the 50/50 raffle.

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Smith, a proud public school student reminisced on his own public school education and the person who first helped him in his medical career. “Mr. Kennedy, he opened my eyes to the wonders of science,” said Smith. Expressing great praise for Berkeley Heights schools and the BHEF, he added, “I believe that the BH public schools and the BHEF together have the power to reach so many children in our community and be that ‘Mr. Kennedy’ for them.”

After team introductions, the Boy Scouts Troop 68 Color Guard presented the colors and students from Columbia Middle School sang the national anthem. Promptly after the national anthem, students from the Mary Kay McMillin Early Center gathered on the gym floor to sing their school song “We are Stars.”

The atmosphere of the event was portrayed through enthusiastic children and their families rooting for specific schools and teachers on each team. The blue team was made up of faculty and staff from Mary Kay McMillin Early Childhood Center, William Woodruff Elementary, and Columbia Middle School defeated the red team, with faculty and staff from Governor Livingston High School, Hughes Elementary and Mountain Park Elementary.

During the first quarter break, students from Mountain Park Elementary, led by Michelle Guerriero gave their performance; after the second quarter, students from Thomas P. Hughes gave their act, followed by a performance by Columbia Middle School cheerleaders; the last routine was held after the third quarter by the Woodruff Elementary School Students, led by Ms. Lauren Ryan.

The basketball game ended with the blue team defeating the red team 43-23.

Blue Team:
Mary Kay McMillin ECC - Chuck Billingslea, Christine Ekert, Frank Fabiano, Rachel Hopkins, Susan Poage, Amy Tarabokia. Woodruff School - Patty Gasparini, Stephanie Parrott, Lauren Ryan. Columbia Middle School - Rick Romano, Mike Roof, Brandon White.

Red Team:
Hughes School - Erika Barton, Jennifer Fischer, Lindsay Liguari, Jessica Nardi, Novy Gonzalez
Mountain Park School - Tyler Brown, David Grego, Shannon O'Shea
Gov. LIvingston - Phil Acosta, Lena Bendush, Josef Ellis, Jackie Hudacko, Ryan Jendrek, Beryl Roman

Referee - Vinny Palimeni; Announcer- Denis Smalley; DJ - Herman Maftes, assisted by Brandon Koch and Bobby Maftes; Scoreboard - Tom Barton

For the 2016-2017 scholastic year, The BHEF has awarded grants to all six schools within the district.

The Mary McMillin Early Childhood Center received funding towards an imagination playground, therapy dog training, and an outlast cascade water play system; Columbia Middle School received funding towards capstone project and Makerspace Bundle; Governor Livingston High School received funding towards their Blindness Awareness Month Art Program, Vinyl Cutter for Art Programs, an outdoor classroom, and Robotics competition field; Hughes Elementary School received funding towards Berkeley Heights Commemorative Book, Alphabetter Desk and stools, wobble and ball chairs, Being a Writer Program,  white board tables, hand percussion instruments, and How a Town Fought Puppet Program; Mountain Park Elementary school received funding Growth Mindset books; Story Pirate Program, White Board Tables, wobble and ball chairs, Berkeley Heights Commemorative Book, and How a Town Fought Puppet Program; William Woodruff Elementary School received funding towards How a Town Fought Puppet Program, White Board Tables, wobble and ball chairs, and  Berkeley Heights Commemorative Book.