AYER — Fred Deppe became the principal of the Ayer Page Hilltop School a little over a year ago, and along with his vast administration experience, he brought along some community building fundraising ideas.
One of these is bringing the Harlem Wizards basketball team to the Ayer public schools for a charity game. On a recent Thursday night, the Wizards took on a team comprised of Ayer public school staff, as well as members of the Ayer School Committee and the Ayer Fire Department.
The Wizards brought their “Tricks, Hoops, and Alley Oops” show to the Ayer High School gym to amaze and entertain the crowd. The Wizards have been visiting schools since 1962 and they are made up of former college stars, street ball legends, ex-Globetrotters, professional players and stars of the NIKE freestyle program.
“I have had this team come and do programs at my previous schools and it has always been a great community event. Last year in Ayer they certainly did not disappoint, and this year was no different,” Deppe said. “They put on a fun show and a part of the proceeds go to the Page Hilltop Parent Teacher Association — it’s a win-win. Families got to have a memorable night with their friends and support the school.”
The Wizards sent posters and DVDs in advance of the game, but Deppe and his Ayer team were not intimidated by the Wizard’s talent.
“We gave them a run for their money and got to show some of the tricks we had up our sleeves,” he said.
This year’s squad included Page Hilltop staff members Brian LaPointe, Jen Holt, Dede Smith, Brenda Rolfe, Mary Palmer, Robin Silva, Stephanie Schwartz, Lynn Oppenheim, Tammy Nadeau, Cathy Guthrie, Betsy Dolan, Fred Deppe, and Crawford Kilpatrick filling in for second- grade teacher Edith Stephen. Other Ayer players were the Family Partnership’s Deanna Watkins, FLLAC’s Kerrie McCann, Ayer Middle High School’s Justin Carlson and Jeff Scott, School Committee Chair Dan Gleason and Ayer Fire Department’s Tim Shea and Anthony Mavilia.
Along with the over 600 tickets that were sold for the event, families could purchase pizza, treats, souvenirs and memorabilia to have autographed.
“This was a really great night,” PTA President Kerry Bremer said. “We are so thankful for all of the hard work everyone put in to make this charity game such a huge success. Not only did families get a fun night out, but over $2,300 was raised to help provide even more fun nights like this one to occur.”