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The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

Teachers defeat students in thrilling McDance-a-Thon basketball game

Annual McDance-a-Thon basketball event boosts student morale and funds for Children’s National Hospital
McLean football coach Brian Slay prepares to take a shot as students attempt to guard the basket.

The second annual teachers vs. students basketball game was held on Feb. 21, during Highlander Time Flex. Students around McLean gathered to support their peers and raise money for McLean’s student-led organization, McDance-a-Thon, a club dedicated to raising money for Children’s National Hospital in Baltimore.

“This event is so important for boosting morale among students,” McDance-a-Thon head Deena Barmawi said. “McDance is raising money for a great cause and events like [the basketball game] are a good way to have fun while also keeping the club’s goal in mind.”

Students were charged $3 for admission into the game, which was held in the lower gym, with all proceeds going toward McDance-a-Thon. The student section quickly filled up as the teacher team, led by senior coach Jason Babalitis, began warming up.

“Before the game, I didn’t feel nervous or anything,” said junior Arman Badipour, a member of the student team. “I knew this was just for fun and so I was excited to go out there and play against some of my favorite teachers.”

After the starting line-ups for both teams were announced, school resource officer Scott Davis used his height to his advantage and won the tip-off for the teacher team. Immediately, the teachers began making intentional passes on offense in order to beat out their opponent and earn some early points.

“We were playing defense on the teachers, but it wasn’t that successful because a lot of them were taller than some of our players,” said Vaughn McCollough, coach of the student team and senior on the McLean varsity basketball team.

The student team started off slow, unable to block three-pointers made by math teacher Adam Newburger or layups scored by school security specialist Ky Parrot. The teachers were able to take an early lead, but the student team was determined to put up a fight.

“I was excited when I went in because I wanted to help my team and have fun with my friends,” senior player Nicole Chestnut said. “We were having fun out there and that helped us sink more shots.”

The student team was down 14-29 at the end of the first half, but came back to make it 29-30 in the last few seconds of the game. However, football coach Brian Slay made some tactical foul shots to end the game at 29-32 with a teacher win.

“I had a great time competing out there,” said Stephen Sudik, history teacher and member of the teacher team. “It’s great to interact with students outside of a classroom setting, seeing them in a different environment is really cool.”

McDance-a-Thon raised a total of $617 during the game, which will be added to the funds they are planning to raise at their biggest event of the year, the official McDance-a-Thon dance hosted in the lower gym on Mar. 16.

“The basketball game was a huge success and will hopefully get people excited to participate in the dance in March,” Barmawi said. “It was great to see people showing up, cheering, and supporting this super important cause.”

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