The DuBois Area High School Student Council is moving to use the proceeds from the 12th Annual Ben Friedl Memorial Basketball Game to aid the victims of a one-vehicle accident near Penfield last Monday and their families.
“Any wreck is not a good scenario so it’s just a good thing to be able to help those victims,” said senior Jimmy Oberlin. “We would like to see a big turnout.”
The Ben Friedl Memorial Basketball Game is played in memory of the former DAHS math teacher who lost his life in a car accident on the same road on his way to work 12 years ago. The event is usually intended to help raise money for the scholarship fund.
“It’s usually the kids versus the teachers,” said teacher Heather Pasternak. “Our staff’s getting older, so we have less and less teachers that want to play. So we’re having our Student Council officers draft teams of kids and teachers, so we’re going to play with the kids this year.”
“When I informed the district of the tragic accident, I encouraged every building to consider some type of fundraiser or collection to provide financial support to the victims and their families,” said substitute Superintendent Wendy Benton.
“The next day, I was contacted by three exceptional teachers at the high school, Jackie Norris, Heather Pasternak and Denise Sloan, and was informed of their desire, with the support of the Friedl family, to donate all proceeds from the basketball game to the victims and their families,” said Benton.
On the afternoon of March 4, 31-year-old Chantel Eliason, of Reynoldsville, was at the wheel of a school van when it crashed off the Bennetts Valley Highway and into a tree, according to DuBois-based state police. Benton confirmed that Eliason was a substitute driver.
Eliason and passengers, Linda D. Hallowell, 66, DuBois, an aide for the district, and a 12-year-old Penfield boy, were all taken by helicopter to hospitals.
“The victims are in stable condition,” said Benton. “District administration is in communication with the families of the victims to offer support as necessary.”
State police are continuing their investigation.
The high school is still accepting donations for an auction at the basketball tournament. The game will be held at 6 p.m. Friday in the high school gym. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. The cost is $2 for students and $3 for adults.
The school is hoping for a large turnout to benefit the families as much as possible.
“Any time members of our school family are suffering, the entire district feels it,” said Benton. “This is our extended family. This gesture was presented at the perfect time. It provided us with a sense of hope and set us on a mission of providing support.”