HAVERTOWN—Both schools put up a good fight, but it was ultimately Paxon Hollow Middle School who beat out Haverford Middle School in the final few minutes of game time Friday, making them champions of the Ninth Annual Potter Cup. The friendly competition, held each year between the two middle schools, raised more than $36,000 this year to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation For Childhood Cancer.
"We had a dream that we could bring students together in the winter and [promote] cooperation, friendship and sportspersonship," said event organizer and Haverford Middle School assistant athletic director Bill Booth.
"Now nine years later, it's something we couldn't have imagined." –Bill Booth, event organizer
Nine years ago when the Potter Cup first came to be, Booth and other event organizers decided they wanted to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation to do something "for somebody else to make this special...something we can have the students working toward," Booth said. "[Other cancer fundraising groups] get all the publicity, but we do just as much in our own little world."
Combined with the money raised in the previous eight years of the Potter Cup, the two middle schools have raised nearly $250,000 to combat childhood cancer.
Liz and Jay Scott, parents of Alex of Alex's Lemonade, gave a short speech before the start of the pep rally.
"Thanks so much—I am overwhelmed," said Liz Scott, amid applause from both sides of the auditorium. "My emotion…is so many things, but mostly it's just gratitude, to all of you students, teachers, staff…I [owe] you so much for raising money for Alex's Lemonade Stand every year."
She continued, "There's also a lot of sadness because I wish Alex could be here to see what you're all doing. But mostly, I'm just so happy for all the money you're raising so that other kids and other parents just like you will have the chance that Alex didn't have to grow up healthy. You've raised $200,000 since the competition began, and it's making a difference for kids across the country because we're able to make a lot of progress in curing all kids with cancer which is really what Alex wanted to do.
So I can't thank you enough—this to me is the best pep rally I've ever been to. Year after year, you guys outdo yourself. It's about school spirit, which is important … but it's also the biggest pep rally for pediatric cancer I've ever been to, to show kids with cancer how much you care about them."
After dance performances from teachers, cheerleading and dances from students, and an appearance by the Philly Phanatic, the competition began in earnest. Paxon Hollow won the girls basketball game, followed by a win from Haverford for boys basketball. Like last year's competition, it was the wrestling competition that determined the winning school.
"It even came down to the final match," Booth said.
Paxon Hollow was the final winner, but both schools showed excellent sportsmanship on and off the floor.
"When you put 1,800 kids in one building, cooperation and sportsmanship is even more important," Booth said. "The great thing about it is that the kids are from two different schools, different neighborhoods, and they're screaming and hollering for their teams in the competitions—but when they walk out into the halls they're all kids. The sportsmanship is even greater in the hallways than on the field."
If all goes according to plan, next year's competition will be held in Marple Newtown High School's new gymnasium, a first in the Potter Cup's history and will mark its tenth year.