By Debby Teich
The boys and girls basketball teams at Cooper City High School have been practicing for their big game against schools faculty – and all for a good cause. The game will raise money for the James & Lindsay Layer Scholarship Foundation, which awards scholarships to Cooper City High School athletes. The game will be held on March 7, at 7pm, in the Cooper City High School gymnasium. Tickets are $5 per person.
The scholarship was started in memory of two siblings who graduated from Cooper City High School. Both were athletes who died at the age of 19 in separate automobile accidents. James passed away on August 2, 2001. He played football, golf, basketball, baseball and soccer. Lindsay passed away on August 24, 2005. She was a swimmer and also played water polo, basketball, soccer, and softball.
Family and friends started the scholarship fund in the siblings’ memory, but it quickly ran out of money. Ten years ago, the school initiated the basketball fundraiser and it has become an annual tradition. Approximately 250 students, community members and alumni typically attend to watch faculty and staff play against the students. During half time, the cheerleaders, drum line, and others entertain the crowd. The school’s CTV crew films the event and shares it with the rest of the school.
“The game is guaranteed to be an exciting night for all and it is for a great cause,” said Ron Ziccardi, guidance counselor, who has known the family for 28 years and helps organize the event. “We are able to honor James and Lindsay’s memory through the scholarships.”
All of the money will be awarded to Cooper City High School senior athletes. Last year’s event raised $3,000 for three student athletes who were awarded scholarships of $1,000 each. To apply, the athletes must complete a questionnaire that asks about the importance of family. The siblings’ mother, DonnaLee Layer, will work with a committed to review the applications and select the winners. The scholarships will be presented at Senior Awards Night.
“The student versus faculty basketball game means so much to me and my parents for a variety of reasons,” said Stacy A. Layer. “First and foremost, it keeps the memory of my brother and sister alive so that they are never forgotten. Second, it allows us to reconnect with their friends and the staff at CCHS that we don’t necessarily see more than once a year at the event. And finally, it allows us to give back to the community. We are long-time residents of Cooper City and my mom and I have both spent many hours volunteering our time with children and in the school systems, and my siblings and I were all local athletes. The money collected from the game allows us to give a local teen a little help via a scholarship on their journey to a higher education. A college education was something valued by both my brother and sister so it’s the perfect way to honor their memories.”