Rivals Work Together for Meaningful Fundraiser

February 22, 2019

Prospect and Hersey High Schools are located just three miles away from each other in the Chicago area, and the schools' basketball teams have a strong rivalry as a result. This year, the coaches at the two programs decided to keep the rivalry on the court and find a way to work together on a special fundraising initiative. The results were extremely gratifying.

Prospect High boy's basketball head coach John Camaraderie and his assistant coach, Brad Rathe, went to a wedding in the summer for Joe LaTulip, who played for Prospect and graduated in 2010. Joe's father, Gary, had just started as vice president of development “Folds of Honor,” a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships for families of disabled and deceased military service members.

Camardella's conversations at the wedding gave him an idea for a fundraiser that would do better if it involved another school in the area. And Camardella thought of the perfect partner: Hersey High School.

The partnership—which includes the boy's and girl's teams for both schools — was announced at the first boy's basketball game between Prospect and Hersey on Dec. 14. It involved a series of fundraising activities between representatives of both schools to take place before the two boy's teams had their second regular-season meeting at the end of January.

One of the fundraising ideas was “Pie a Teacher in the Face,” which involved 10 pairs of teachers from both schools. A teacher from each school would square off against a counterpart from the other school to see who could raised the most money; the teacher who raised the most would slam a pie into the face of the counterpart at a school assembly. Camardella said this component raised almost $3,850 in four days.

When the two boy's basketball teams met for the second time this season, on January 25, a check for $25,000 was presented to representatives of the “Folds of Honor.”

I think all of us would agree, coaching and teaching, we’re in the service industry,” Camardella said in an article on the Chicago Tribune website. “That’s what I always say. It’s a different type of service, but we’re here for the kids, the families and the community. Our job as professionals is to provide the best possible experience for our kids.”

“The message was to kids in high school,” LaTulip said. “Spending any time off their devices and thinking about certain words, like ‘honor’ and ‘family’ and ‘purpose,’ that was a huge part of the goal. Honor, purpose and family was the point. Seeing that greater purpose emerge was a great thing.”

“It’s something they can relate to,” Marie Miller, the Prospect girl's basketball coach, said. “Kids helping kids in the same area, same ages, but because they have parents who have made the sacrifice for our country, it served as a reality check for some of our kids. “They realize their fortune, and now, what can they do to put good out into the world?”

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