On Monday, 1/30 and Tuesday, 1/31 night
s the Oyster River Varsity Basketball teams both pulled out big wins, but that wasn’t the only focus of the night. Seniors on both teams had the opportunity to thank faculty members who have significantly impacted their education at Oyster River with a Faculty Night ceremony to start the game.
This is a tradition that has been brought back for the first time at ORHS since before the pandemic
, and was run by the basketball booster club. All 12 seniors, boys and girls, involved in the basketball programs had a chance to honor faculty members who have “gone above and beyond to inspire and support [them] over their years at Oyster River,” shared Julie Kelley, one of the key organizers of the event, in an email.
The above table highlights all of the senior members of the Varsity Basketball programs and the staff members they chose to recognize.
Before the games tipped off, students and staff participated in a ceremony similar to what takes place on senior night. Students were announced along with the faculty member they had chosen to honor and the two met at half court, where seniors handed flowers and a gift card to their staff member before posing for a photo.
Athletes and faculty members appreciated the opportunity to share a special moment of gratitude. Maria Rosi, ORHS art teacher and an honoree at both the boys’ and girls’ games, shared that the event helped students practice “the skill of being humble and grateful are two traits that will serve them for the rest of their lives. It was an opportunity to practice those traits and realize that you are where you are because of a whole team of people who have been bolstering you up and providing what you’ve needed for many years either directly or indirectly behind the scenes.”
The students also appreciated the opportunity to thank faculty members. Paige Burt, of the girls’ varsity team, chose her faculty members for a few different reasons. She chose Jensen because, “I have had her as a mentor for social justice. She was our DEIJ club advisor for a while and so I have always looked up to her.” Burt also took African American History and Citizenship Education with Jensen, who she said is the kind of teacher who “always goes above and beyond.”
Teachers like Jensen are the kind who leave a lasting impact on their students and the ones who make high school worthwhile. Ben Kelley, a member of the boys’ varsity team, shared that it was great to be able to “show our appreciation for all the help we’ve gotten, not just through the high school alone, but through elementary school. Without our teachers, we wouldn’t be going to college and doing other things.” Kelley honored his long-time bus driver Brenda Small because “always when I was riding the bus I would have a lot of conversations with my bus driver, and I appreciate her a lot. She was always looking out for me and it’s really nice to see her.” Kelley shared that Small is “kind of like a Walmart grandma.”
Jake Baver, the writing center coordinator at the high school was honored by Mason Tatarian for the help Baver provided when writing his college essay. “I haven’t known him for too long, but he seems like a really awesome person that’s appreciative and respectful,” Baver said of Tatarian.
Baver continued by speaking on the tradition saying, “I think appreciation in general for people that are in your life is important. I am not one for public appreciation, but I think as an idea and as a gesture it establishes a nice connection that sometimes gets severed between teacher and student or person and person when you get caught up in the frustrations instead of the effort that people put in for you.”
A handful of the faculty members recognized at the games brought family members, and many stayed for portions of the games which added to the crowd dynamic. Both teams came up with big wins in honor of the faculty they honored. Monday night’s girls’ game against Hollis Brookline was a hard-fought game which ended in a game-winning buzzer beater made by sophomore Caitlin Klein and Tuesday night’s boys’ game ended in a big win over Hanover.
The varsity girls’ next home game is Tuesday, February 7th where they will be taking on the Pembroke Spartans at 6:30. The varsity boys’ next home game is against the Manchester West Blue Knights on Thursday, February 9th, at 6:30. Be sure to go support our Bobcats!
Images courtesy of Madelyn Marthouse