MARCH 30, 2023 – Basketball season may have officially come to a close in Lyons, but fans poured into the Lyons Community Center on Tuesday evening to take in just one more contest: the Lyons vs. Clyde-Savannah faculty basketball game.
The matchup is part of a tradition – paused during the Covid pandemic – that fosters a friendly spirit of competition while bringing the two communities together for a common cause: raising money for senior scholarships.
The March 28th event raised $3,000 in total, which will be split between the two school districts.
While fundraising is the goal of the contest, a larger benefit of the game is the student learning and leadership opportunities that emerge while pulling the major community event off.
Student leaders "are the heart of this project," said Lyons Leadership Class teacher, Mrs. Erica Gansz. She shared that her class, composed of Lyons HS juniors and seniors, planned all aspects of the event including marketing, poster design, recruiting faculty and staff to participate, and running night-of event logistics.
Students from both districts also played crucial roles on Tuesday evening as referees, coaches, media, announcers, raffle logistics, cheer captains, and more.
"This event was a testament to the collaboration of two communities and school districts coming together for the benefit of our youth," said Gansz.
LHS Senior Bria Romano, one of the project managers for the class' business and marketing group, said that after months of planning and working together to hold the event, "it was very fulfilling to see the hard work pay off."
Lyons Junior Evie Groom agreed, saying the process of pulling off such a huge event "expanded" her leadership skills, and the payoff was worth the major effort: "Seeing our community and our 'rival' community come together was eye-opening."
While the Lyons Leadership Class students as well as student leaders from Clyde-Savannah may have put in the efforts behind the scenes, it was the faculty and staff of both districts who left it all on the court Tuesday night. Everyone from seasoned administrators to new staff just starting out had the chance to show off their ball or cheer skills.
As the founder of the Leadership class, as well as the current Lyons Superintendent, Dr. Barr had a unique perspective on the experience: "This event has lasted the better part of two decades, while providing tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money to dozens of local graduates," Barr recalled. "The atmosphere of celebration, excitement, and camaraderie is amazing. A special thank you to the students of the leadership class, as they showed their initiative and ambition to bring everyone together for a worthy cause."
And the winner? No one interviewed for this story seems to be exactly sure of the final score, which is by design. "The score wasn't super official," said Gansz. But Gansz, an alum of LHS, knows Lyons is a basketball town through and through: With a smile, she said, "I think 63-59, a Lyons win."