BY: JAMES MAZARAKIS  The Class of 2015 struck gold in organizing one of the biggest fundraisers of the year, bringing the famous New York basketball team, the Harlem Wizards, to Malden High School’s own Finn Gym. On May 7, 2013, students, teachers, and residents of Malden joined the audience to watch the team of seven play, or, more accurately, perform, basketball. “It was a great night,” Class of 2015 advisor Paula Valente said following the event, “and very successful...” Rather than playing a serious game of basketball, the Harlem Wizards make a show of cheating the other players, stopping to have personal arguments, and taking time out of the game to involve the audience in their foolish endeavors. Players as tall as 6’8” took the hands of nearby adults and children to dance; numerous comedic breaks dotted each quarter of the game, which long surpassed a basketball game’s typical length. Members of the “Tojo Team”, as the Harlem Wizards registered themselves in the game, consisted of only six players, their heights ranging from 5’9” to 6’8”. Tojo Henderson, a basketball player from New Jersey, is the oldest player on the team; he has been part of the Harlem Wizards since 1967. “Mighty Mike” Simmel, the shortest of the lot, struggled with epilepsy as a child. Overcoming this affliction, he became a professional basketball player and founded the Epilepsy Foundation, earning him the Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award (TOYA), a prize that has been given to United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Bill Clinton. On the other side of the gymnasium were the twenty-one players that made the Malden team. With students and teachers from Malden High School, Forestdale, Linden, and MHS alumni, a well-rounded team. Representing MHS were teachers Hava Daniels, Dorothy Levine, Dana Marie Brown, Even Mauser, Greg Cocca, and students Rodney Morton, Tommy Steele, Bryan Mitchell, Jean Sylvain, Levar Simpson, Jessica D’Esposito, Lisa DeLacey, and Norma Bourque-Pimentel. Principal Dana Brown acted as the game’s referee. The match, more of an act than a game, had the Wizards both proving their mettle and playing a fair game. While many Malden players made goals, the towering Wizards could shoot a hoop from halfway across the gym; they often tricked unsuspecting  opponents by doing near-impossible tricks with the ball. The Wizards, clearly in for the fun rather than for the win, found themselves shooting hoops on both sides of the stadium. There was doubt among the officers of the Class of 2015 prior to the event, as they feared that there were not enough people purchasing tickets. After investing a large sum of money in the event, it was not at first clear that they could raise enough money to make a decent profit. The turnout, however, turned out to be much greater than expected; dozens of new guests bought tickets at the door and made themselves comfortable in the stadium. The sophomore class raised about a thousand dollars, according to Class of 2015 officer Alyssa Figuerido. “We’re going to try to do it again senior year, and try to get more people to come next time,” Figuerido comments. Several active children appeared at the scene, forming a cluster in the corner playing basketball, and from time to time getting tangled with the basketball players, who were always ready to mess with their mind and play around. “It was a great turnout,” Class of 2015 President Ashmael Brun declared, exhausted after the event, “[it feels great] to bond with my class... with Junior Varieties coming up next year, I can’t wait to [do it] again.”

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