With the music blaring, audience stand shaking with cheering students, and teams of students and teachers lined up on the sides of the basketball court, introductions were announced and the event was under way. Friday, February 23, 2018, was the day of Valencia’s annual Dodgeball event, hosted by the drama program as a fundraiser, with Grace Stanton at its head. Over 15 teams, each representing unique groups of five individuals- including the teaching staff, band, football team, cross country, or simply just groups of friends- faced off against one another in intense matches over the course of nearly three hours, eventually organized by winners’ and losers’ brackets.
The primary objective for this dodgeball event was fundraising for the drama program, whose member Jose Ubaya served as the MC, with others along the edges of the matches cheering and protecting the viewers from the dangerously thrown balls. Tickets had been on sale for $7 about a couple of weeks before the actual event, and participants were compelled to sell three of these tickets themselves before competing, really bolstering the drama program to its financial apex.
Aside from the financial benefits of one program, however, Valencia’s Tiger Spirit really came to light on this eventful friday. Bryce Tsuyuki, an 11th grade competitor for “Kill-a-Bytes”, had much to say regarding the positive environment promoted by a single dodgeball event: “… It’s really great to witness the bonds being formed, of course by the students who actually come together in teams and between the competitors, but also between the teachers and students who are able to go at it for once in the year”. Overly-hyped reactions to a myriad of Bryce’s miraculous dodges exemplified the unity present within Valencia’s campus as a whole, joining in praise for moments of excitement and joy. Sophomore Lex Marques, who viewed the matches from the audience stand, noted, “[The competitors] looked like they were having so much fun, which only excited me more and made me almost want to join them”. Competition bred anticipation, for the next match to begin and for audience members to be on the court in future years to come.
The Wu-Tang Clan ended up receiving the first place title, overcoming teams such as Cloud 9, Prestige Worldwide, and the Tiger Tamers. Every competitor coming off of the court following loud celebrations agrees that “being on the court is really on another level compared to just watching”, and such will prove true next year as hopefully, more Tigers will take on the competition and the fun.