Glastonbury High School's Thanksgiving Classic is a fun event for a good cause

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Nov. 15, 2013
Jay Kitchens of the GHS tries to make a lay-up in heavy traffic, as the Glastonbury High School staff and students played representatives from the Glastonbury Police Department in the first Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 13. Photos by Steve Smith.
Jay Kitchens of the GHS tries to make a lay-up in heavy traffic, as the Glastonbury High School staff and students played representatives from the Glastonbury Police Department in the first Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 13. Photos by Steve Smith.

Students and faculty from Glastonbury High School squared off against the Glastonury Police Department in an exhibition basketball game at the first Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 13. GHS Student Resource Officer James Partee said he had organized a similar event for 15 years in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo. When he began at GHS, he said he asked administrators about holding it here, and they agreed.

The admission charge was two non-perishable food items, which will be donated to Foodshare, but the another mission of the event was to help create a more-positive relationship between police and students.

The only real challenge to putting together the event was the police officers' schedules, which include midnight shifts and the like. “We had to ask the entire department – about 65 officers – and see who could make it,” Partee said, adding that he was pleased with the enthusiasm.

Partee said he formerly played basketball in high school and college, and has coached for several years besides playing in the past classics.

The GPD team jumped out to a quick lead, and held it for most of the first half, but the GHS squad (which included some of the school's basketball players) was able to pull ahead and hang on for a 41-35 final. When asked how much the GPD team practiced before the big game, Partee said, “not at all.”

Assistant Principal Bobby Skarvelas, who coached the GHS team, was asked how his team was able to come from behind and pull out the win. “I think it was when we upped our intensity with full-court pressure and a transition offense,” he said, “and that we were younger, faster and better.”

Partee said he publicized the event heavily at the school, through announcements and signs. Several clubs and organizations within the school also helped, including the Student Council and Key Club.

“It's really the charity part,” Partee said. “We also got a lot more food donated over the last several days, because several students couldn't make it because they have sports or different after school activities, so they donated to the cause.”


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