• Pickleball Raises $7,000 in Support of the High School “Kids Helping Kids” Philanthropy

    Pickleball is a game that is played on a badminton court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is a combination of tennis, badminton, ping pong, and racquetball.pickleball1
    Pickleball started at the high school about ten years ago. Originally, students contributed $5.00 to play in the one-day event. All proceeds went to “Kids Helping Kids,” groups of USCHS students and teachers who travel to the Dominican Republic to sponsor special projects for the poor, everything from building a new school or constructing an aqueduct to improve the lives of local villagers. The Pickleball tournaments raised $800 dollars in the first year.
    Since then, the popularity of this event has grown exponentially. Ten dollars is now the donation to play up to two of three tournaments spanning over two days, including Boys’ Doubles, Girls’ Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. Resident Mr. Tim Olack wanted to be a part of this, so every year over the past six years, he provided shirts for all players. Once informed about the nature of the year-end charitable activity, alumnus Mr. Rob Mertz joined Mr. Olack in contributing t-shirts to this program.
    pickleball2 Improvements in the organization of the Pickleball tournaments promoted more efficiency and excitement, raised more revenue, and brought new learning and technology to the event. A newly initiated teacher tournament was a popular attraction. Liam McClelland, Pedro Quiroga, Jack Shae, and Evan Horton, students in Mr. Fred Peskorski’s classes, formulated a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) project to assist USCHS Pickleball. They created a twitter account and set up an online bracket so that kids (and adults) could follow the tournament from anywhere, saving the Pickleball organizers about ten hours of doing everything on paper! The event was promoted through twitter and had about 270 followers! The STEAM students also installed a large-screen TV outside the gym sopickleball3 that the progress of the games could be monitored.
    Premier seating raised additional funds. Spectators paid $1.00 to have a good view of the games. Ms. Bethany Chase contributed as well by opening the concession stand and having the “Kids Helping Kids” group sell food and drinks.
    Involving a majority of the student body at the high school as players, organizers, or spectators, Pickleball tournaments were held on the “last senior day” of June 4.
    Thanks to Mr. Keith Froelich and media students Casey Garwig, Will Hersch, and Spencer Lohman, the boys’ and girls’ championship games were aired live.
    The bottom line? Involving more than 700 players, more than $7,000 was raised for “Kids Helping Kids” and the Dominican Republic.

    Pickleball Master of Ceremony Mr. Tim Robbins was assisted by the other physical education/health department staff members, Ms. Elizabeth Hess and Mr. Shawn Morton.
    One USCHS STEAM project supervised by Mr. Fred Peskorski was the genesis of an online “app” to organize the games into brackets andpickleball5 follow the Pickleball tournament standings.