With all the buzz focused on school system layoffs, budget cuts and finishing EOG testing, some Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools employees have come up with a recreational way to blow off steam.
May 27 will go down in school history as the evening of the first "Clash at the Lake: Untamed and Unbranded" softball battle between the Francis Bradley Mavericks and the Bailey Broncos middle school staff members. It's expected to be an annual event.
"Since the students and staff from our schools all live in the same area, we thought it would be something fun to do in order to encourage a friendly rivalry between the two schools staffs," said Barbi Healey, Bailey Middle sixth-grade math teacher.
The softball game will be held at the Francis Bradley Middle School, 3345 Beatties Ford Road, baseball field in Huntersville at 4:45 p.m. Students and the community are encouraged to come and show their support. Spectators are asked to bring canned food items to the game; all donations will be donated to Ada Jenkins food pantry.
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Some of the Bradley Maverick staff members who will participate include:
Cheryl Burwell, sixth-grade science and social studies teacher and grandmother of three; Norman Cohen, eighth-grade social studies teacher and played college ball for Brandeis University; Melvin Quincy Etheridge, eighth-grade assistant principal; Erica Giles, Spanish teacher and seasoned league player; CJ Jones, school resource officer and member of the Huntersville Police Department; Lindsay Robinson, seventh-grade math teacher and right fielder; Michael Sherry, eighth-grade language arts teacher who claims "I can hold my breath under water for up to seven years at a time;" Kathy Vey, eighth-grade language arts teacher and 20-plus year resident of Huntersville.
Among the staff members representing Bailey Middle School, 1900 Bailey Road, Cornelius, will be: Jenna Crowell, seventh-grade math teacher and cheerleading coach, who says she "last played baseball in 1995, but is ready to unleash a 15-year wrath;" Tiffany Grinnell, seventh-grade language arts teacher; Kevin Harper, ISS supervisor; Karen Klemm, former Bradley Maverick and current Bailey Bronco lead counselor, whose softball experience span over four decades; Tara Lee, seventh-grade language arts and social studies teacher as well as girls' soccer coach; Phyllis Merritt, eighth-grade language arts teacher and Charlotte native, a self-proclaimed non-athlete who promises to provide endless laughs and entertainment; Kyle Paul, seventh-grade language arts teacher; Andrew Uglehus, French teacher, was the top 10 NCCA college soccer goal scorer, but has never played a game of softball.
"My hope is that we have lots of fun with our softball game, but that Bailey Middle School is the ultimate victor," said teammate sixth-grade math teacher Barbara. "Go Broncos."
Another player, Bailey Principal Jennifer Dean, said, "I am excited about the camaraderie between Bradley and Bailey and hope that the two schools can continue to build professional relationships."
There are several surprise members of the Bradley and Bailey staff who will be participating, too.
Adam Volk, a sixth-grade science and social studies teacher at Bailey will call the game. Volk has umpired for Davidson/Cornelius baseball leagues as well as for Crystal Carolina Sports, Nations Baseball and Cooperstown Dreams Park.