While the rest of the nation was caught up in March Madness, a different kind of fever was sweeping the South View campus as spring break approached.
It was the annual fundraising dodgeball tournament, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
Sharon Payne is the faculty advisor for South View’s Student Government Association, which coordinates the dodgeball tournament every year.
“The best thing is our student body comes together and rallies to raise money for a charity,’’ she said. The charities the school chooses to help are carefully screened to make sure the money goes to support the specific cause and not to the people operating the charity.
This year’s chosen charities, according to senior class president Henry Swartout, were American Suicide Prevention and Backpack Buddies.
But why a dodgeball tournament? Swartout said that was decided years ago as an activity just about anyone could take part in that didn’t require specific athletic skills like those needed to excel in many sports.
The fundraising takes place in multiple layers. First, there are five players on each team in the tournament, and they must submit an entry fee of $20 per team. Teams can design their own uniforms and pick their own team names. This year there were about 20 student teams, an administrative team and a couple of last-minute slots left for teacher teams.
Admission to watch the tournament isn’t free. Each first-period class at the school can attend if it raises $30. For those special classes that have well under 30 students, a fee of $1 per student is requested. If a class comes up a little short in its $30, teachers often chip in to make up the difference.
There were some side events going on with this year’s tournament. South View students are awarded tickets for doing good deeds around the school, and they could use those to donate toward seeing a favorite teacher get smacked in the face with a pie at the tournament.
The students also donated money to determine which faculty or staff member would have to attend the tournament wearing a bunny suit. The winner was assistant principal and athletic director Chad Barbour.
The tournament raised even more money from Barbour as students could pay to pose for a picture with him in the bunny suit.
As for the tournament itself, Payne stressed the school has taken great caution to establish firm rules of conduct to make it a fun event that’s not designed to hurt or embarrass anyone.
All students and their parents must read and sign information about the rules, which includes the stipulation no throws can be aimed at the neck or above the shoulders. The penalty is the disqualification of an offender’s entire team. A six-member crew of faculty members is picked to serve as referees.
All the members of the winning team get a championship T-shirt.
“It’s amazing the way South View rallies around the dodgeball tournament,’’ Payne said.
Nautia Carter, student body vice-president, agrees. “It gets everyone excited,’’ she said. “It’s just something fun we do for our community and charities.’’
Photo: Left, L to R: Danielle Novak, Bailey Lockwood and Raven Camacho.