Last Friday night was a very special night in the gymnasium at Schuyler Central High School. There were the scheduled basketball games for both the boys and girls against the visiting Crete Cardinals. The fact that the Schuyler teams lost those games is beside the point. It was a night of victory, a night of excellence, and a night of remembrance.

The night of surprises began when the award-winning SCHS dance team performed its annual basketball season dance with a little help from several male students from the high school. The addition of the young men made an already enjoyable halftime experience something truly very special. Several people from Crete commented after the game how neat it was that the guys would get out there and dance with the talented dance team. Not only did they do it, it was obvious they were truly enjoying what they were doing.

Next up was a presentation between the girls and boys varsity games. Last December, the one-act team from SCHS captured the Class B championship at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk. Sixty students proudly took to the court to receive their state championship gold medals from director Jill Hoesing. It was so very heartwarming to see seniors, freshmen, athletes, scholars, students of varying races collect their medals then receive a hug from their outstanding sponsor. Again, it was incredibly obvious to the observer how much all of these students respect, admire and love Mrs. Hoesing, as well they should.

When all of the SCHS fans, who had come out to watch a couple of basketball games and enjoy a soda and bag of popcorn, stood and gave the one-act team and its sponsor a standing ovation it was a moment that will be etched in my mind for a long time. What an incredible moment for an incredible group of special people.

If that was not enough, one of the first things people noticed when they entered the gym was that most of the students, all of the coaches and many of the parents were dressed in black instead of the green normally sported at SCHS athletic events. Following the game, all of those wearing black were asked to group together on the bleachers for a photo. What was the deal with the black outfits? SCHS was observing a night of recognition for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

The V Foundation was founded by ESPN and Jim Valvano in 1993. Valvano’s words through his ESPY speech that year inspired millions of people to get involved with the foundation. Valvano was the basketball coach at North Carolina State until his life was cut short when he succumbed to cancer.

Although Valvano lost his battle to cancer less than two months after delivering the ESPY speech, his dream to find cures lives on through research grants bestowed in his name. That is why the students, coaches and parents of SCHS went out of their way to raise money by passing around buckets at halftime of both games. The money collected will be sent to this amazing cause for further research. To everyone involved with organizing the “blackout” event, congratulations. It may not have seemed like a lot to people who don’t know Valvano or are not aware of his foundation, but the reality is that the event was held to find a cure for cancer for everyone, everywhere, in all walks of life.

Yes, it was an amazing night indeed. There are so many positive things going on in the Schuyler Community Schools system, but sadly, it seems most people only hear about the negative things. Anyone who was at the school last Friday night knows the positives far outweigh the negatives. Thank you and congratulations SCHS on a job well done!

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