Penn Hills School District officials hosted a family-friendly community-building event on Sunday afternoon.
The bleachers of the high school gymnasium, filled with community members, buzzed with noise to watch high school students on the basketball and volleyball teams being put to the test as they faced off against first responders and elders in competitive matches.
Attendees ranged from Penn Hills Fire and EMS to police and juvenile probation officers in Allegheny County.
Athletic Director Stephanie Strauss worked with PHSD Superintendent Nancy Hines to orchestrate the event. Strauss said the one-off clashes were an opportunity for the community to bond with those who serve and protect their region.
“We wanted to have an event in the middle of the summer that brought together everyone and officials from the area to build a community,” she said.
High school principal Eric Kostic had fun refereeing the volleyball game.
“It was great to see so many people and alumni coming here. It went really well, ”Kostic said.
Allegheny County probation officers had the opportunity to show another side of themselves outside of their job.
“It was amazing and super dope to be able to mingle with the community,” said Jon Bradford, an Allegheny County probation officer who played in the volleyball game.
Another probation officer, Monique Jones, joked that she could at least hit volleyball over the net after not playing the sport since high school.
“It gives the community a chance to see the police in a different light and to realize that they are people too,” she said.
There was plenty to do at the event for Penn Hills residents who could choose to attend the games, watch the marching band and cheerleader team perform, or speak to the various vendors and booths in attendance. in school. UPMC representatives donated T-shirts and cool towels to the first 100 participants.
Meta Johnson from Wilkinsburg arrived for the volleyball game to support her granddaughter, who was on the cheerleader squad.
“I am very impressed with the number of people who came to the event,” she said.
Lauren Javens from Rosedale saw the event advertised on Facebook and wanted to support the community. She wanted the students to win.
“I think it turned out to be very organized and a lot of fun is happening,” Javens said.
Booster groups from the cheerleader team, boys’ basketball team and the group sold food to help raise funds. The alumni also had the opportunity to buy their jerseys for $ 5 during the clearance sale offering old and retired school sports jerseys.
Representatives from different organizations – Neighborhood Resilience Project, A Second Chance and Juvenile Justice System Enhancement – were on hand to provide community support resources.
“We wanted to show that we’re not just there for when the going gets tough. We’re here for the kids and we love to see what they’re doing, ”said Shamekka Drewery, JJSE Supervisor.
There were a few notable appearances at the event. Penn Hills Fire Marshal Chuck Miller; David Brock of A Second Chance; and Kim Booth, deputy chief probation officer at Allegheny County Juvenile Court, were a few notable figures.
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Dwayne Woodruff, a former Steelers cornerback, was the famous umpire of the basketball game. Regardless of who emerged victorious from the games, Woodruff said the real winner was clear.
“The Penn Hills community is the big winner today,” he said.