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Harlem Wizards set to play in Glen Cove

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Fundraising at the Glen Cove City School District can be a challenge, said Amanda O’Brien, Landing School Parent-Teacher Association co-president. Although the PTA does its best to find creative solutions, she said most times it can end up being a lot of work for minimal profit. As she and fellow Co-President Maureen Jiminez brainstormed ideas for a big fundraiser at the Landing School last year, fourth-grade teacher Maria DePace approached the two about a popular event she attended over at the Oceanside School District. 

Last spring, DePace attended a Harlem Wizards basketball game in Oceanside, where the Wizards played against local teachers in a game filled with spectacles and hilarious antics, much like that of the famous Harlem Globetrotters. The Harlem Wizards were founded in 1962 by Howie Davis to compete with the Globetrotters. The Wizards have toured across the U.S. and in other countries and take part in fundraisers for schools. DePace said the event brought together everyone in the Oceanside community, so she hoped it could do the same in Glen Cove.

After weeks of planning, the Harlem Wizards are set to play the Glen Cove Knights on Feb. 26, at the Glen Cove High School in a large event that would benefit not only the Landing PTA, but also the other PTAs in the district.  

“Everyone will have a chance to gain from this event,” O’Brien said, “but most importantly, it’ll be a great event that can involve our entire community.” 

The big game will pit the Harlem Wizards against a team comprising of district teachers, including DePace and her fellow Landing School teachers Courtney McCord, Stefanie Liptzin, Melissa Harechmak and Susan Fiumara. School Principal Alexa Doeschner will be the coach. Jiminez said students were eager to see their teachers compete against the Wizards, which was evident during a special assembly that the Wizards held at the school to promote the event on Jan. 24. After Wizards player David Paul came to excite the students about the event, O’Brien said the PTA saw a surge in ticket sales with nearly 200 tickets sold in the following days.

“I’m not surprised that happened,” DePace said. “The same thing happened when they came to do an assembly in Oceanside, and it was sold out.” 

The event is also uniting the community, with about a dozen local business and organizations sponsoring the event. O’Brien added that she’s seen people who don’t have kids in the school district also buy tickets. During the game itself, the Robert M. Finley Middle School PTA will raise money through the concession sales, and the Daisy School PTA will sell cotton candy. 

The Landing PTA is hoping to sell more than 500 tickets for the event. Tickets are available at harlemwizards.com. The Landing PTA will also host its annual Diamond Breakfast Scholarship event on March 8.