For the seventh time in as many years, the Pulaski Academy and Central Schools mystery team (teachers, faculty and administrators) defeated the boys’ varsity basketball team for bragging rights during a recent charity game.
The fundraising event began seven years ago when PACS teachers Ashleigh Wilson and her husband, Jamie Hefti, decided to rally around an organization on the other side of the globe.
The couple, who have two adopted daughters from Ethiopia, read about African HIV Orphans: Project Embrace (AHOPE) and instantly knew they wanted to lend their support, and the fundraising efforts were set into motion.
“Originally in 1997 (AHOPE) started as a hospice facility for children dying of AIDS,” Wilson said. “Today, because of life-saving medicine, these children are living long, healthy lives and many of them are now attending school and in job-training programs and becoming productive members of society, so it’s a really great organization.”
Although Wilson and Hefti helped generate awareness for the organization, they noted that the efforts by the Pulaski school district and community provide additional support and financial backing to increase awareness.
The fundraiser on March 19 was no exception.
The Devil’s Den turned out in full force to support their classmates on the boys’ varsity basketball team in the back-and-forth battle with the mystery team.
While the faculty mystery team won on the court by a score of 80-74, AHOPE was the big winner as $1,800 was raised for the organization.
That money, Wilson said, will go a long way toward helping African children stricken with HIV. It will help pay for food, medicine, supplies and school tuition for children living with HIV/AIDS in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Wilson and her daughter, Emma, will see the donations at work when they travel to Ethiopia over spring break to volunteer at AHOPE facilities.
“Pulaski Academy is making a global difference and that is really exciting,” Wilson said. “We are eager to see the impact of our fundraising at PACS and share that with our community when we return.”
With the fundraiser deemed a success, Wilson noted that there were numerous individuals and groups that played a role in that success.
“We are extremely thankful for the involvement of so many (people),” she said, noting that students, community members, the Pulaski Teachers’ Association, the Pulaski Sports Booster Club and Sandy Creek High School student Freya Sergis all made significant contributions. “(The event’s) success was truly a collaborative effort of our awesome PACS community.”