SPARTA, NJ –The Sparta Middle School gym was packed with students and parents ready to watch the 14th annual Hoops for Hope Student/Faculty Basketball game on March 8.  The eighth grade students took the court to try to end the teachers’ 13 year winning streak. It was a good fight, but the teachers managed to come out on top with a final score of 66 to 53 and kept their undefeated status.

The real winner was Joey’s Warriors. The game raised a total of $2,773.00, which was donated to Joey’s Warriors. The foundation was set up in honor Joseph Anthony Schmidt, son of Joe and Jill Schmidt.  The Franklin boy was born with a congenital heart defect. Despite several surgeries and procedures he lost his battle in 2013 at only 22-months-old.   

His family created Joey’s Warriors to help families with children who are dealing with CHD. They try to make their experience in the hospital and caring for a sick child a little bit easier.  The goal of Joey’s Warriors is to continue to spread hope and joy in Joey’s honor because he brought his family so much joy.  Joey was the nephew of Sparta Middle School teacher Jason Kopp and Sparta High School teacher Danielle Kopp.

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This annual game brings teachers and students together to play a fun, yet competitive, game and raise money for a local, charitable foundation. The game is organized and run by the Sparta Middle School Honor Society, which is advised by Sparta Middle School teachers Robert Gilmartin and Theresa Gleason.

The tradition began 14 years ago with two Sparta Middle School teachers thought it would be fun to start a student/faculty game with a purpose. They wanted to show the students they could have fun and make a difference in the world.  They named it Hoops for Hope with the intention of raising money for charity.  Over the history of the game it has grown and raised approximately $25,000 for a variety of local foundations.

The game was full of excitement from start to finish and the crowd loved the music provided by Sparta High School student and DJ, Mason Minetti. Minetti has volunteered to DJ at the Hoops for Hope game for the last four years.  

The Sparta PAL also donated the referee and Sparta Middle School student Sydney Dillon sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.

Joey’s Warriors is extremely grateful for the support and outstanding donation. For more information on Joey’s Warriors you can visit their Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/JoeysWarriors/ .

“The game has become such a wonderful tradition to bring our Sparta students, faculty and community together for a night of healthy competition, camaraderie and charitable giving,” Danielle Kopp said.