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Badly-needed funds raised for schools through second annual Teacher Games in Mesquite
Featured Photo
Freddie Banks drives by Granger's Charlie Peterson, right, during the Teacher Games in Mesquite. Peterson is a former BYU quarterback who spearheaded Granger High School of West Valley, Utah while the former UNLV great Banks represented Canyon Springs High School of Las Vegas in the event which resulted in a $5,000 payday for Granger.

MESQUITE, Nev. – Teachers and school district administrators from Nevada, Utah and Arizona completed competition in the second annual Teacher Games in Mesquite here Friday through Sunday.

Many of participants will be in the office of their schools during the week presenting badly-needed funds after winning pieces of the $20,000 prize money through competition in bowling, billiards, Bunco, golf, poker, softball and 3-on-3 basketball. Presented by the Mesquite Resort Association, the weekend kicked off with a “Get Your Game On” opening ceremony Friday at the CasaBlanca Resort.

The Teacher Games in Mesquite had its share of heroes in a field of more than 20 schools. Among those was former UNLV Runnin’ Rebel “Fearless” Freddie Banks, a Valley High School graduate and a member of the 1987 NCAA Final Four team that lost to eventual national champion Indiana.

Named by UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian as the greatest clutch shooter he had ever seen, Banks was a member of the Canyon Springs entry in 3-on-3 competition at Virgin Valley High School. While his team lost 25-21 to Granger High School of West Valley, Utah, Banks was certain that he would return for the 2010 event.

“We heard about the Teacher Games and how it offered a chance to bring money home to our school,” said Banks, who played at UNLV from 1983-87 and ranks in the top five scorers in school history with 2,007 points. “We’ll be back next year, for sure.”

Among the players representing Granger was former BYU quarterback Charlie Peterson.

“There was a letter sent to our principal,” Peterson said. “I used to live in Vegas anyway, so I said we needed to organize the trip. It was a lot of fun and we’ll be back next year for sure.”

Granger won $5,000 by winning the Poker 3-on-3 competition and also finished second in the softball category.

“For our school, I can’t even tell you how desperately our school needs the money,” he said. “The school has been in the red with regards to sports for the past couple of years, so the money is going to come in really handy. We can stretch $5,000 a long way.”

The Snyder Elementary softball team captured first place money of $5,000 for the second consecutive year at the Teacher Games in Mesquite last weekend.

Yet one other school teacher playing to help her school was Alyssa Horton, whose Snyder Elementary co-ed softball team recorded its second straight victory to generate $5,000 for the Las Vegas school for the second consecutive year.

Horton, a kindergarten teacher, was a hero when she delivered first-place money  in 2008 and you can bet she’ll again be greeted with open arms when the money is presented to Snyder Elementary Monday morning.

“This is a wonderful event,” said Horton, who played right field during the teams three-game march to the championship. “Everyone is super happy to be a part of this especially when we get to home with a check for Snyder Elementary.

“It’s only a short trip from Las Vegas and everyone wants to be a part of the Teacher Games. This is a huge relief for the teachers and the students of our school because the money can be used for so many badly-needed areas.”

Yet another happy member of the event was Mitch Nerdin, assistant principal at Granger High School in West Valley, Utah. The school is in bad need of funds and will undoubtedly appreciate the $2,000 Nerdin won for the school.

“I don’t get to play poker too often,” said Nerdin, who finished ahead of Scott White of Hayden Elementary and Jacqueline Sitar of Kay Carl Elementary both Las Vegas schools. “I have a big family. But Granger is a very poor school, so I’m glad I was able to win the money.”

Beth Vanslyke won the Bunco competition to win $2,000 for Tate Elementary in Las Vegas. Like the other winners, she enjoyed the competition and especially enjoyed the satisfaction knowing that she was also able to help yet another school in bad need of funds during tough economic times.

“This was so much fun,” said Vanslyke, who is a speech therapist at the school. “I can’t wait for the bowling to start Sunday. Our school is very poor, so it’s really needs help.”

Teacher Games Event Manager Bernadette Anthony said the event was deemed a great success.

“We were really happy with the Teacher Games,” Anthony said. “In only our second year, our participation increased and word has already started spreading about next year.”     

Other winners included Hickey Elementary, golf; JT McWilliams, bowling and billiards.

Further information regarding future Teacher Game can be found at or by calling Anthony at 888-711-4653, ext. 42.

Teacher Games in Mesquite
Nov. 13-15
Final Earnings:

1.    tie between Granger High School, West Valley, Utah and Snyder Elementary, Las Vegas, $5,000 each.
3.    JT McWilliams, Las Vegas.$3,650.
4.   tie between Tate Elementary and Hickey Elementary, Las Vegas, $2,000 each.
6.   Findlay Middle School, Las Vegas, $1,100.

Event Winners:

    Softball: 1. Snyder Elementary; 2. Granger High School, West Valley, Utah; 3. Findlay Middle School, Las Vegas.
    3-on-3 Basketball: 1. Granger High School; 2. Canyon Springs High School, Las Vegas; 3. Granger High School.
    Billiards: 1. JT McWilliams, Las Vegas; 2. Indian Springs, Nev.; 3. Indian Springs No.3.
    Poker: 1. Granger High School, West Valley, Utah; 2. Hayden Elementary, Las Vegas; 3. Kay Carl Elementary, Las Vegas.
    Bunco: 1. Tate Elementary, Las Vegas; 2. Hickey Elementary, Las Vegas; 3. J Marlan Walker International Elementary, Las Vegas.
    Bowling: 1. JT McWilliams 1, Las Vegas; 2. Findlay Middle School; 3. JT McWilliams 2.
    Golf: 1. Hickey Elementary, Las Vegas; 2. Virgin Valley High School, Mesquite; 3. Kay Carl Elementary, Las Vegas.

CONTACTS: Mike Henle, 702-279-3483; Bernadette Anthony, 888-711-4653, extension 42.

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