Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

Natalie Ryder

At the blow of the whistle, vocal junior Zidane Guerrier and athletic director Matthew Vaughan jump into the air, reaching for the ball during the teacher versus student basketball game.

2 Sides of the Court

Participants in the annual Spirit Week students versus teachers basketball game share their outlook on the event

March 13, 2023

The varsity boys and girls basketball teams, with nine wins collectively, took on their calculus, history, biology (and other subjects) teachers on the second day of Spirit Week. Participants found ways to both mentally and physically prepare for the students versus teachers basketball game. 



Natalie Ryder

Dribbling the ball down the court, social studies teacher Jeffrey Stohr tries to score a point for the teacher team.

Coming straight from a loss in 2022, the teachers felt they should prepare in order to succeed this year. To prepare for the game, social studies teachers Ross Vening and Jeffrey Stohr and athletics director Matthew Vaughn practiced their skills outside of school.

“Mr. Vening, Mr. Vaughan, and (I) played a little basketball last week to prepare,” Mr. Stohr said. “All three of us work out a lot. I run and swim and lift weights. Vaughan is very athletic, so he’s clearly still good, and Vening does CrossFit, but there’s nothing that compares to playing in a basketball game. You have to play the game to be ready for it.”

On the other hand, some teachers took it less seriously, with science teacher Stephen Anand joking that the only thing he did to prepare was “put on shorts and a jersey.”

Celebrating because the teachers scored a point, science teacher Stephen Anand runs down the court to prepare for the next play. (Natalie Ryder)

Although the teachers ultimately lost the game, students only won by four points with a final score of 39-35. The teachers still saw this as an achievement in contrast to past years in which the student lead was greater. 

“It was a very close game, and a pretty good game all in all,” Mr. Anand said. “There’s a lot of effort out there, and I put some points up there, so I’m proud.”

According to a casual Instagram poll from SGA, only 30% of students were rooting for teachers. However, students cheered for the teachers from the bleachers. When the sophomores saw their social studies teacher Samuel Mick score, several erupted into a standing ovation.

“Mr. Mick making a 3-pointer was awesome,” Mr. Stohr said. “We have a fun staff. We had a good time today.”

Teachers adopted an attitude of “It doesn’t really matter who wins. I think we all had a good time,” Stohr said. However, this didn’t stop teachers from believing that they would dominate the competition in 2024.

“We look forward to a rematch next year,” Anand said. “They’re going down.”

During warm-ups, theatre senior Mason Materdomini and social studies teacher Jeffrey Stohr practice together before the big game. (Natalie Ryder)
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Natalie Ryder

Watching the rebound, vocal junior Zidane Guerrier prepares to chase after the ball after the teachers were unsuccessful in their attempt to score a point.

Students aimed to maintain their champion title. Some, such as strings sophomore William Tong, felt his biggest obstacle in securing the win would be the fear of his peers’ judgment.

“I just don’t want to be embarrassed,” Tong said. “There’s going to be a lot of pressure because the whole school is watching, so obviously the main focus is having fun but don’t embarrass me.”

Some students took on the additional pressure of their friend’s expectations, with Tong stating that because his friends bet him $10 that he wouldn’t dunk during the game, he’s “been training his legs a lot, so (he) can try to dunk better.”

On the other hand, since part of the game included passing to and communicating with other team members, theatre junior Kara Mullings felt the game didn’t need to be prepared for, and it was more of a way to play basketball with other students who share the same interest in the sport.

“Honestly, I didn’t do anything to prepare for the game,” Mullings said. “I knew this would be another chance for me to play a sport I enjoy with people I love, and I just signed up.”

Avoiding a foul, band junior Marco Donatien and strings sophomore William Tong try not to fall. (Natalie Ryder)

Although the students took the victory, winning team members understood that beating the teachers would not be easy, with Mullings listing her least favorite part of the game as “underestimating the teachers.”

“I was scared to play against Coach Vaughan because his shot is really consistent, and he hits them all with precision,” Tong said. “He understands the game and knows everything there is to know about how to make good shots.”

Glancing back, digital media sophomore Briana Dean sprints down the court, so her teammate can pass her the ball. (Natalie Ryder)

Overall, some students, according to Mullings, were able to use the game as an opportunity to learn, both from the teachers they were playing against and from their personal setbacks in the past season. 

“My mindset going into the game was to just remember everything Coach Stohr told me and apply it,” Mullings said. “Also, I wanted to use this time to make up for my past mistakes from my previous games and show myself that I learned from them.”

To see more about the cheer performances that went during the game’s halftime, read this opinion article on Powderpuff. 

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