It’s March Madness month, and a few Lake Highlands residents are hoping to shoot and score with a new school fund-raiser launching this month.


          The new fund-raiser, called Hoops in the Highlands, is taking the place of a spring carnival for the four elementary schools who will benefit from it: White Rock, Wallace, Lake Highlands and Northlake.


          The event’s organizers, Lisa Johnson and her husband Scott, who played basketball for Southern Methodist University, wanted a fresh and different idea to approach fund-raising that could involve the entire community. The event will include an all-day, three-on-three basketball tournament, along with other family-appropriate entertainment.


“We originally just pitched this to White Rock Elementary,” says Johnson, whose two children — Brodie, 10, and Berkley , 8 — attend the school. “But word spread, and the idea eventually spread to include several schools getting involved in a joint fundraiser.”


The basketball tournament will include a youth division, with second through eighth graders playing against kids their own age, and an adult division. Also featured at the event will be a Fun Zone, a “sports-related carnival type atmosphere for children that are too young to play basketball,” Johnson says. Included will be a bounce house, a football toss, free throw contest and more. Entrance will be $3 for unlimited play.


A live DJ will play music all day, and there will be a free throw contest and hot shot competition for those not on a team. The organizers are also hoping to have some musical performances from various groups at nearby junior and high schools.


“We’re hoping this will be an annual event that will build on itself every year,” Johnson says. “We’re really trying to make this a community event and include everybody in it.”


The response so far has been enthusiastic, Johnson says. “The idea has been very well received in the community. And as this event grows larger every year, we’re hoping it’s something our neighborhood businesses will get behind and support.”


For Johnson, this has become a way to do more than raise money for her children’s school. 


“One of the big benefits of doing this has been to getting to know parents and people from other schools and work with them on something,” she says. “It’s nice to expand our borders a little.”


Registration for the basketball tournament is now closed, but anyone not scheduled to play is invited to watch the games or participate in the Fun Zone. Hoops in the Highlands will be held all day Saturday, March 20, at the Highland Oaks Church of Christ, 10805 Kingsley.


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