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Bellerose teachers battle for a better cause at PS 186

Faculty members compete in different events while students cheer them on at the Castlewood School's annual Battle of the Teachers in Bellerose. Photo by Phil Corso
TimesLedger Newspapers

The gymnasium inside PS 186 The Castlewood School was booming with students’ cheers Monday as nearly 350 of them pounded on the ground with their fists to root for their respective teachers’ teams. Inside the arena of rowdy kids stood 39 instructors at the school ready for battle.

Once physical education teacher Colin Gomes gave the signal, the teachers put on a show as they hustled to complete the tasks assigned to them in the name of their class’s honor while students watched and cheered. When the winner of each round was crowned, Gomes had each faction of students, separated by their different teams’ colored T-shirts, applaud each others’ performance.

“The teachers act as a model for sportsmanship,” Gomes said. “The kids learn to compete in a courteous way and have a good time doing it.”

The school’s fourth annual “Battle of the Teachers” rocked the building, at 252-12 72nd Ave. in Bellerose, Monday with its usual community-driven twist. If a student wanted admission into the festivities, he or she had to submit at least one nonperishable food item to be donated to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Queens Village to help the needy.

Reading and English as a Second Language test coordinator Laura Rivera’s eyes lit up as she watched the students stuff a record 28 boxes full of food, trampling the previous year’s number of 21.

“By pitching in, we’re hoping the students learn how to help their community in a direct way,” Rivera said. “They are learning by helping. It’s a great day for them but also for the community.”

The new year-end school tradition kicked off Monday morning with a pep rally over the morning announcements.

Principal Dolores Troy-Quinn said she was ready to go as she stood outside the gym full of anxious and chanting students from kindergarten through fifth-grade. She competed alongside an army of teachers to both entertain and teach the proud pupils.

“There’s something for everyone here,” Troy-Quinn said. “Everyone wins.”

Teachers competed in different events like scavenger hunts and competitive races where they zoomed through hop-scotching, hoop-jumping and rope-jumping. All the while, Gomes acted as the event’s ringleader, shouted over his headset to both amp the students up and also calm them down when he needed to get a message through.

After announcing the winners of each round, Gomes made it a point to have the hundreds of dedicated students save some applause for teams other than their own. When the blue team came out on top of one race, he grabbed the crowd’s attention and made sure they took a break from the celebrating to applaud both the red and white teams.

“An event like this really shows what great character we have here at Castlewood,” Gomes said.

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