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Entertaining rout expected for fundraiser

Exhibition basketball team match to benefit Ted K Center

PLATTSBURGH — They may be seriously outmatched, but the Ted K. Center Trail Blazers will have a mission in mind when they take the floor against a team of standout basketball players.
The group of local educators will go up against the Flight Squad exhibition team in a fundraising game at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Plattsburgh High School, 1 Clifford Drive.
Spectators can expect to see some impressive action and interesting antics from the Flight Squad, a team of former professional and Division 1 athletes who played for U.S. and overseas teams.

The Flight Squad will be playing a team comprising a mishmash of educators from local schools in a fundraiser to benefit the Plattsburgh Housing Authority’s Ted K. Center.

GETTING SCHOOLED
Tom Neale, education coordinator for the Ted K. Center, said the Flight Squad players will bring “high-flying slam dunks, expert dribbling exhibitions, trick shots and an interactive program.
“The crowd will also get to watch familiar faces from our community schools –– the teachers, principals and coaches who make up our team –– as they try desperately to keep pace with superior athletes.
“Hopefully, everyone will have the opportunity to witness their favorite principal or teacher learn a lesson on the hard court,” he joked.

STARTING THE CLOCK
Neale said he is always researching opportunities to secure financial support, including grants and fundraisers. He works with the Plattsburgh Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and Executive Director Mark Hamilton on those goals. “Board Vice Chair Shirley O’Connell suggested we pursue the Flight Squad basketball game,” Neale said. “We have found that it is a lot of work to organize a major community event like this, but with Shirley’s enthusiastic support, we are enjoying the planning process and look forward to providing a great family-oriented show.”

HALFTIME VOCALS
Doors to the PHS gym open at 6 for the 7 p.m. show. Halftime will feature the Plattsburgh School District’s a cappella group Fermata Nowhere, who will be doing a preview of the performance they plan to give a week later at a national competition, Neale said. After the game, fans will have a chance to meet the players and get autographs. A concession stand and team shop will sell snacks and souvenirs.

GIVING IT A GO
Neale said it will be difficult to get the Ted K Trail Blazers team together to practice, but they will give their best effort against the super-talented Flight Squad. “Our team features great athletes who may be slightly beyond their prime but will be able to make many entertaining plays on the court,” he said. “The team does look forward to being a main part of the show and enjoy interacting with Flight Squad and the fans.”

The money that is raised will bolster programming at the Ted K. Center, which operates an Early Childhood Program, After-School Program and Summer Program.

“Beyond everyday activities, such as homework completion, arts and crafts, play groups and recreational activities, funds will potentially help us provide a community garden project, which includes nine garden beds; two weeks of day camp at Camp Tapawingo, Point au Roche; art programs, such as pottery, painting and drawing classes; as well as recreational equipment and learning materials, Neale said.

POSITIVE EXPERIENCES
“Neighborhood youth and families have grown to depend on ‘The Center’ to provide a diverse array of services related to education, employment, recreation and the arts.

“The Ted K. Center provides youth with positive opportunities for growth and improves the quality of life in the Plattsburgh Housing Authority and the greater community at large.” Neale said the Ted K. Center collaborates with many community partners, including the Clinton County Youth Bureau, United Way of the Adirondack Region, Plattsburgh City Schools, Plattsburgh City Police, SUNY Plattsburgh, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Plattsburgh Breakfast Kiwanis Club. “Youth will make constructive use of leisure time, participate in family and community events and enjoy positive interactions with mentors and peers,” he said.

“They will be provided a safe place to play, learn and socialize and be afforded opportunities they may otherwise not have the chance to participate in.”