The ‘bosses’ face off on the volleyball court

Administrators from the Piedmont and Porter Ridge clusters battled it out in a volleyball game that raised more than $1,700 for the Union County Education Foundation. Sam Basden and Jonathan Tyson, principals of Porter Ridge and Piedmont high schools, served as the two teams’ captains, and Dr. Mike Webb, the county’s deputy superintendent of instructional technology and operations, refereed the games.

Administrators from the Piedmont and Porter Ridge cluster schools went head-to-head Wednesday evening in a “friendraiser” that raised $1,704 for the Union County Educational Foundation.
Dubbed “Battle of the Bosses III” and held at the Porter Ridge High School gym, the event featured principals and assistant principals from each of the clusters’ elementary, middle and high schools engaging in friendly competition through a game of volleyball.
Tickets cost $5 for adults and students ages 12 and up and $3 for students ages 6 to 11. Children age 5 and under got in for free. All proceeds from ticket sales, as well as funds collected through donations, went to support the foundation, which helps meet the financial needs of all county schools.
Porter Ridge High Principal Sam Basden served as the captain of the “Pirates,” while Piedmont High Principal Jonathan Tyson led the “Panthers” through the competition. The teams faced off in a challenge to win the best out of three games. By a slim margin, Basden and the seven Porter Ridge cluster schools came out on top in the third game.
“It was very close right up until the very end,” Dick Baker, executive director of the Union County Education Foundation, said. “I think, for them, it was a great team-building (opportunity) for the administrators. Kids have always enjoyed seeing teachers and principals get out and do something fun.”
The teams played to 25 points on each game. To make the competition more interesting, some original rules were implemented. During the first game, the team members could hit the ball up to three times before hitting it over the net. The second game required the teams to hit the ball at least three times before hitting it over the net, and the third game required four hits.
“It just makes it more of a challenge and helps them to have some fun, rivalry competition,” Baker said.
The teams also could “purchase” points through spectators’ donations. During several timeouts, a pot was passed throughout the stands to collect donations from audience members. For every $10 donated from a team’s supporters, that team would receive a bonus point. Teams could earn up to a maximum of 10 points through donations.
“We made sure the teams couldn’t raise enough money to win the game by buying points,” Baker said.
Baker estimates between 200 and 300 people showed up to support their schools and the principals as they battled it out on the court, and he said it seemed to be pretty evenly divided between the two clusters. A group of young ladies provided entertainment during timeouts through cheerleading routines, and the Porter Ridge High Booster Club operated a concession stand and donated half of the proceeds to the Union County Educational Foundation.
Principal Basden was excited, not only to be a part of the event, but also to win the competition, which included “bragging rights” and a traveling trophy that will stay with the cluster schools until another Battle of the Bosses event takes place.
He said his team didn’t do any athletic preparation, other than solicit some last-minute tips and advice from the student volleyball team.
“As old as we are, all practice would do is make us sore for the game, so we decided to play cold,” he joked.
But the schools did a lot of preparation by means of promotion, setting up the gym, designing T-shirts and recruiting the Booster Club to handle the concessions.
“(Our preparation) was geared toward the fun part of it,” he said. “We feel like the Union County Educational Foundation is a worthy cause. We appreciate the fact that they support all the schools in the county. We’re fortunate enough in Union County that we (schools) look out for each
other; we don’t compete with each other.”
The Union County Educational Foundation is an independent, community-based foundation. The organization was formally created in mid-2011 to meet the schools’ increasing financial needs stemming from dwindling state and county funds. Its mission is “to ensure that every child in Union County has the opportunity to succeed.”
This is the third time the foundation hosted a Battle of the Bosses event.
One of the foundation’s board members came up with the idea to have the schools’ administrators face off in a friendly competition to raise money for the foundation, support the schools’ booster clubs and connect the schools with parents and the community.
“It was for the administrators to have a little friendly competition between rival clusters, and at the same time for us to reach out and meet members of the community,” Baker said.
At the two previous competitions, held last school year, the Marvin Ridge cluster played the Weddington cluster and the Forest Hills cluster played the Monroe cluster. Baker hopes to host more Battle of the Bosses events in the future.
“A couple of the other clusters expressed interest in doing it,” he said. “We’re hoping next semester, in the spring, to do this. It’s our goal to get around to the different clusters, so everybody gets to participate.”

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