Pope John Paul II’s junior and senior girls basketball team may well be about to have the trip of a lifetime.
Both teams were in good spirits as they proudly sported their basketball jerseys at Boston Pizza on Morningside on Dec. 1. They waited tables and interacted with guests to raise money to go to Disneyland Florida to participate in the KSA Events Girls’ Basketball Classic Tournament held on Dec. 16 to 19.
On the last week of Oct, senior girls coach Tavia Ferreira had received a phone call from KSA Events asking the junior and senior girls’ teams to participate in the tournament.
“The girls are so excited,” Ferreira said. “They’ve never been to Disney and they get to play with U.S. teams.”
“I feel really honoured to play because we get to represent Canada and show what our country has to offer,” junior captain Samantha Niccao said.
KSA Events is a tournament held each year at Disney Resort. Only the top 61 high school teams across the U.S. are invited. Only a selected few Canadians teams are able to participate. Ottawa is the other Canadian team that will be present.
The team needs to raise at least $1,000 per player, according to Steve Gazmin, assistant coach for the junior girls’ team. So far, they’ve raised around $10,000 and are halfway there.
A few of the girls have personal sponsors such as from their dentists and doctors.
Ferreira says that when it comes down to it, parents may have to contribute money for their child. But they’ve been very supportive so far.
“I’ve had parents calling me saying thank you for taking my child to Disney,” Ferreira said. “Because of the area we’re in and the demographics, a trip to Disney would be in the cards. So parents are thankful that their child can get the experience of Disney as well as exposure to basketball.”
During the KSA Events, high schools will be competing against each other from Dec. 17 and 19. Basketball scouts and media will be present as PJP II gets to experience playing and using the top notch facilities and hardwood courts.
The girls will even get a chance to watch the Toronto Raptors play against the Orlando Magic between that time.
“I bet we will be the only ones cheering for the Raptors,” Niccao said.
To contribute to help PJP II get a chance to play in Disneyland, call 416-393-5531.