Donkey basketball will raise funds in memory of Alder teacher

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donkey ball logo web(Posted April 10, 2014)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Donkey basketball is coming to Jonathan Alder High School.

On April 24, high school students and teachers from throughout the school district will play hoops while riding actual donkeys. Games and laughter start at 6 p.m. in the main gym. The public is invited to attend. Free donkey rides will be offered during intermission for children 12 and younger who are accompanied by an adult.

Student Mark Williams is organizing the event as a fundraiser in memory of David Parker, a Jonathan Alder teacher who was paralyzed from the shoulders down after being shot in the neck in an armed robbery in 1993. After the injury, Parker obtained a teaching license and taught social studies at the high school. He died in 2011 due to complications caused by the injury.

“He was a kind, helpful, encouraging man who had a story that impacted all of us as students. We were lucky to know him,” said Williams who was a freshman the year Parker passed away. “Mr. Parker had a passion for education and sports…it seemed perfect to match up a fundraiser that will benefit education and be fun while ‘playing sports.’ ”

Proceeds from ticket sales, donations and a 50/50 raffle will go to the Jonathan Alder Education Foundation. Proceeds from concession sales will go to the Jonathan Alder Athletic Boosters.

Each year, the Education Foundation awards a scholarship in Parker’s name. Earlier this year, students John Jewett and Dalton Miller held a three-point shooting contest at a home basketball game to raise money for the Foundation in Parker’s name.

As Jewett and Miller did with the shooting contest, Williams is organizing the donkey basketball night as his senior project. Every senior at Jonathan Alder must complete a project as part of graduation requirements. Through the project, they must improve on a skill, develop a new skill or perform a community service.

Each senior is paired with a mentor for the duration of the project, which starts early in the school year. Williams chose Wendy Hall, Parker’s sister, as his mentor. Hall teaches freshman science at Jonathan Alder. Hall said this school year is especially meaningful.

“This year’s seniors were David’s last students,” she said.

Williams, who took Parker’s world history class as a freshman, said his senior project experience goes beyond learning how to organize an event.

“The biggest thing I’ve gotten out of this is finding out how much Mr. Parker impacted the community,” he said. “A lot of people I’ve asked to help said they knew him personally.”

Presale tickets are $6 and can be purchased at: JD Equipment, 1660 U.S. Route 42 in London; Main Street Treasures, 150 W. Main St. in Plain City; or by calling Williams at (614) 623-6241. Williams also will sell tickets at the high school the week of the event. Tickets at the gate are $8.

Buckeye Donkey Ball LLC, based in Columbus, is providing the donkeys, referees and equipment. For more information, go to www.donkeyball.com.

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