St. Thomas Aquinas students organize charity b-ball game

January 4, 2017   ·   0 Comments

St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers point guard David Marshall picks up a rebound during the Stingers’ buy-out exhibition game against the Westside Secondary School Thunder in the gym at STA on Dec. 20. The game was organized to bolster school spirit and support “The Push for Change.”

By Brian Lockhart
They are two skilled and competitive basketball players with the St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers senior basketball team and they also have a school and community spirit to go along with their talent.
Grade 11 student, Michael Foster, and Grade 12 student, David Marshall, organized an exhibition game with the Westside Secondary School Thunder team from Orangeville to not only bolster school spirit, but to also raise funds for the Push for Change program.
The students spent several months getting the game organized.
“The beginning idea was we were going to have a buy-out for a food drive. Then we started getting in touch with Joe Roberts,” explained Michael before the game. “Everything that is being bought out by the students today is going to the Push for Change Foundation. We’re also trying to create some school spirit. We’ve got the clappers in the stands, we’ve got a DJ going. We have a guy doing photography for the school.”
The boys did a lot of prep work to prepare for the game included appearing on television to explain what was going on.
“We went on daytime television at Rogers in October to talk about it. Then we did a lot of things at the school to promote the Push for Change and everything built up to this day. We’re also going on a walk to spread awareness and get donations,” Michael said.
Joe Roberts is a former homeless youth who now runs the Push for Change foundation, a initiative that states: “We believe ending youth homelessness is possible.”
Roberts is currently on a cross country walk, pushing a shopping cart, to raise awareness for the cause. He stops at schools along the way and made a stop at St. Thomas Aquinas on Dec. 22, to speak to the students. The students then walked through the streets of Tottenham in a show of support.
The Push for Change website shows Roberts’ progress along his route.
“The program is to help homeless teenagers around Canada,” David explained before the game. “Joe Roberts pushes his cart across Canada and collects money for the poor. On our end we will be collecting money to donate. You can donate online as well if you want to.”
The boys knew some former players at Westside and their coach Pat Dooley also knows the coaching staff at the Orangeville school so it was a good fit to challenge them to a game.
“We looked online to see about what we could do for an event. We gave a proposal to the school and they excepted it and here we are. Joe Roberts is coming to talk to the school on Thursday because he will be walking through Tottenham. All the money we will be collecting will go to him on Thursday,” David said.
STA senior basketball coach Pat Dooley is proud of his team and what they are trying to accomplish.
“Two of our players are putting this game on. I’m really proud of the effort they put it – unbelievable kids. Sure it’s a basketball game and we want to win, but it’s one of those days were it makes you stop and think a bit. It’s an opportunity to stop and take stock of things,” Mr. Dooley said of the reason for the exhibition game and the effort it represents.
There was a full house in the gym for the game with hundreds of STA students turning out to cheer on their team.
They weren’t disappointed when the Stingers managed to come out on top with a win.

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