The Hockinson High School Hawks girls basketball team held its first Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 18, as spectators threw stuffed animals onto the court during a break in the game against Woodland.
The stuffed animals were then donated to children in the community.
Associated Student Body adviser Beth Tugaw and the rest of the team were pleased with the turnout and the amount of toys they collected.
“It was a smaller crowd because it was the Saturday before the break, but we were pretty happy with the success of almost 200 teddy bears,” said Tugaw. “We just advertised it as much as we could on social media and the girls’ basketball app, so it was a decent turnout for the first time.”
The idea originated from Ellie Ritter, who is a senior on the basketball and soccer teams. Ritter will attend Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, to play soccer after she graduates from high school. Tugaw describes her as a “very kind-hearted student.”
“She’s very caring, not self-centered at all, and just has a giving spirit,” she said.
Hockinson won the game against Woodland 54-21 that night. Tugaw joked it was a “pretty lopsided game.”
“We’re a pretty darn good team this year,” Tugaw said. “It was a good atmosphere for the community and people were excited. We did (the Teddy Bear Toss) between the first and second quarter, and it was nice because we only had to stop for a little bit to do it.”
Around 300 to 400 people attended the game from both Hockinson and Woodland.
“I’m hoping this is something they continue every year,” Tugaw said of the Teddy Bear Toss. “It’s a fun thing for the students, and the Salvation Army appreciated it.”
Tugaw said a number of Care Bears were donated, along with plushies of Paw Patrol and Yoda.
Tugaw is not only proud about the turnout of the first event of its kind in Hockinson, but she is also proud of the team.
“They’re a strong group of seniors and sophomores,” Tugaw said. “They’re just a really great group of girls. We have such a good senior class at Hockinson this year. They’re just nice kids and I think they’ve just been craving normalcy, so they’re highly active at school and engaged with what’s going on at school because they need it and have been missing it.”
Besides the Teddy Bear Toss, the Hawks girls basketball team also runs a canned food drive every year in the fall. The items collected are donated to Clark County Fire District 3 in Brush Prairie. This coming spring, they plan to organize a coin drive for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which Tugaw said the team’s done for quite a few years. The coin drive is a competition between classrooms to see who can bring in the most change in the form of coins. The money collected helps fund research for Leukemia and Lymphoma research.
On Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, the team played in a basketball tournament called the Oregon Holiday Hoopfest in Bend, Oregon. The girls won their first game against Mountain View High School in Bend, 48-45, but then lost the second game with a score of 38-51 against Summit High School, which is also located in Bend.
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