Savanna School, located in the most northerly part of Peace Wapiti Public School Division, is making what many at the school believe to be its first foray into the world of competitive basketball.
Lloyd Booth, a first-year English teacher at the school, was inspired to start a team when he saw the student’s enthusiasm for the game. Mr. Booth accepted a teaching position at the school in September, moving from Oregon where he coached the sport at both the middle school where he taught, and at KidSports, a private non-profit organization offering youth sports programming.
“When I saw how passionate the kids were about organizing a team, I knew the first order of business was to make it accessible to all students,” says Mr. Booth. “Key to achieving that outcome was finding a way to secure all necessary funding for jerseys, entry fees for tournaments, and the costs associated with hotels and busing during tournament travel. A member of our community suggested I begin my fundraising efforts with a call to Rick’s Fuel Services Ltd., the local UFA supplier. To my surprise, they immediately jumped on board, donating the full amount required to get the team up and running – more than $4,600,” adds Mr. Booth.
The co-ed team, made up of fourteen students in Grades 6-9, is already seeing the benefits of their biweekly practices. The team achieved an impressive second place finish at the Bert Bowes Invitational Tournament in Fort St. John on January 16-17. The team is set to hit the court again during a two-day tournament on February 20-21 at St. Mary’s School in Sexsmith.
Although only one student on the team has played organized basketball to date, Mr. Booth says what the student-athletes lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm, and this donation is the shot in the arm the team needed to make their dream a reality.
Above: Sporting their new jerseys, compliments of Rick’s Fuel Services Ltd., the team is already seeing results after their impressive second place finish at the Bert Bowes Invitational Tournament in Fort St. John on January 16-17.
Right: Teacher and Coach, Mr. Lloyd Booth, offers advice before sending the team back out on the court.