, Newburyport, MA


July 17, 2014

Shooting for change

Amesbury residents create basketball tournament to raise money for High School programs facing budget cuts

AMESBURY – While most are troubled by something, few take action against it.

Alarmed by the recent news of budget cuts at Amesbury High School, Amesbury residents Ryan Dragon, 23, and Jameson Wheeler, 24, have collaborated to create an event both worthwhile and fun. The “Carriage Town Throw Down,” a three-on-three basketball tournament, will be held on July 26 at Amesbury Town Park.

“The idea first came about when my friends and I wanted to make a tournament just for us,” Dragon said. “But when Jameson and I got together, we wanted to do a little more and thought that we could make it beneficial to the community. We took notice of the fact that the funding at the high school was being cut in certain areas of education.”

With around a dozen teams already registered, the duo hopes for upwards of 30 teams – or 90 people and the cost to register is $30 per team. Proceeds will go to the Amesbury Education Foundation (AEFI).

“Amesbury Education Foundation was psyched about it – just to see two guys of a younger generation care about the well being of younger kids,” Dragon said. “Most of the reaction we have gotten from the townspeople have been great.”

The event is hoped to make an immediate impact on the opportunities presented to Amesbury High students in the coming years.

“Going to Amesbury High School was a great experience,” Wheeler said. “There were certain things I didn’t appreciate until I went to college – like the intimacy of it and the staff. Some teachers will reside with you more than others, but they all really encouraged us to explore our creativity. We want to make sure that programs are available to help kids really grow and blossom.”

Both two-sport athletes, the two friends found many of their lasting memories on the basketball court and football field. But it was perhaps in the lesser-known and under-appreciated school subjects that helped them grow to who they are today.

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