Falger remains victorious in March Madness tournament


Ash Carini

Students helped teachers campaign by using posters and posting on social medias to vote for their teachers.

The Climate and Culture squad implemented a new March Madness challenge for students and teachers. Students could vote on their favorite lunches and teachers competed against each other in order to raise money for charity and win prizes for their students.

“Whatever teacher does eventually survive the field of 32, their students in first and second period will get coffee, juice and donuts. In third and fourth periods, they’ll be treated to Mrs. Grove’s pastries. Throughout the afternoon, they will have pizza parties,” astronomy teacher and climate and culture committee member James Krug said.

Each day, two groups of teachers went against each other, attempting to win the round. During all three student lunches, students were given the chance to vote for the teacher they favored. 

“Originally because it was the first time, we were a little bit nervous we might not get enough teachers. But within the first hour that McAleer posted the link, we already had 42 teachers signed up for only 32 spots. So we locked the Google Form and took our time really making up the matchups in the regions. We tried to combine showdowns in different departments with both veteran and newer teachers that will not only have an intriguing round one but round two rivalry matchups as well,”  Krug said. 

The first March Madness vote was on Feb. 22 between Kelly Sipes vs. Douglas Sipes, as well as Kimberly Shope vs. Kirk Dodson. The lunches were mashed potato bowl vs. pulled pork BBQ sandwich and Salisbury steak vs. chicken pot pie. The winners of the first round were K. Sipes, Dodson, mashed potato bowl and chicken pot pie with biscuit

“I like to participate in fun activities in the school when I can. In the past, I’ve been in the teacher talent show, in an assembly dance-off, Homecoming games in pep rallies, etc. During the first round, I saw people putting up signs, so I made a couple to put up around the school. When I heard Mr. Young was offering coffee cart coupons to those who voted for him, my competitive spirit kicked in and I created a prize-based system to match. After the first two rounds, my students started getting extra-pumped when they realized we could win the competition. I was also really happy to hear that we raised a lot of money for the food bank. This competition has been a lot of fun. I love the amount of good, clean, fun and spirit this event has created,” Sipes said. 

The lunch ladies will serve the winning lunch from the lunch bracket in April.

 “I often thought it would be really fun to have students vote on which school lunch they thought was best, but I also wanted to get the teachers involved too. I met with Metz, who is the company that does the school lunches. They were very welcoming, and they were actually very interested in this idea,” Krug said. “ Metz has generously agreed to serve one extra day to the student body now on a date to be determined in early April.”

On Feb. 23, Feb. 24  and Feb. 27, Young won with 107 votes and Leone won the language department battle. 344 students cast a vote for Marsco vs. Frailey. Jessica Hogan and Carolyn Kline won against Rebecca Skebeck and Shane McBurney. Cheesesteak hoagie and Pittsburgh chicken salad also moved on to the next round. 

The way it was explained sounded like a fun way to get involved in a school activity and brighten up the long dreary month of March. I campaigned very hard against Mrs. Skebeck with fun signs because I knew she was a tough competitor. After I narrowly defeated her, any other wins were gravy. I appreciate Mr. Krug and Mrs. McAleer’s hard work in coming up with a fun idea for all of us, and I appreciate all the students who did vote for me when they could,” Hogan said. 

Feb. 28 Patrick McKinney and Heather Tippet-Wertz moved onto round two as well as walking tacos and pizza. 

“The email that we received intrigued me, and I wanted to test my popularity, or lack thereof. I had one of my students in seventh period put together some posters with my face on them.  Each poster had a different saying on them. The interview on MLTV might have helped propel me to a first round victory as well. I look forward to doing something like this again soon.  It was a great time,” McKinney said. 

March 1 Wanda Vanish and Todd Bennett took the win and got to move on to the second round. Spicy chicken patty took the win against chicken patty. Number 12 seed alfredo also went on to the second round. On March 2, the teachers’ voting jars were stuffed before “B” lunch was over. In a matchup between Deidra Dumm vs. Jeremy Rupeka the winner was Dumm. James D’Angelo won against Erick Kozak. Mini corn dogs and meatloaf stack moved on.

“I wanted to participate because I thought it would be a fun way to connect with my classes and to get the students interested and participating too. Well, I lost in the second round, so my campaigning strategy didn’t go so well. Some of my students made signs and hung them up around the building. Otherwise, my students did most of my campaigning for me and rallied their friends to help. I really thought this was a nice way to see the students and teachers all getting involved in something. The level of participation and excitement was truly amazing,” Dumm said.

March 3 was a match up that could have gone either way. The voters chose between Thomas Palfey vs. Amy Plafey and Michael Steininger vs. Christine Falger. Number 16 seed A. Palfey and 16 seed Falger took the lead in the match. 

“The match between Stein and I was fantastic. We had a blast and certainly had a great rivalry during the first week of the contest. I am excited to have won against Stein. However, I was just glad that one of us was still in the competition,” Falger said. 

On March 6  round two of March Madness started.

After the battle of the health teachers, A. Palfey was announced as the winner, while Bennett had won his match. Mashed potato bowl and cheesy sticks with sauce had won that round. 

When I received the email explaining the March Madness teacher and school lunch edition, I was super excited. I love March because it is a basketball lover’s dream month, with  lots of games and lots of upsets. I entered my name and had a blast participating,” Palfey said. 

Hogan won against Itle-Clark as K. Sipes won against Young. While pizza and General Tso won its rounds. 

“I beat Mrs. Skebeck and Mr. Itle-Clark, and today was the vote between Mrs. Sipes and I, which I’m pretty sure I lost. Those music teachers have a cult following. I never thought about winning it all, I just wanted to have some fun,” Hogan said.

Dodson went against Leone and lost. Marasco won against Kline. Holiday dinner and walking tacos beat meatloaf stack and chicken alfredo.

“I wanted to participate to give my students something to work together on. My students, past and present, were extremely supportive of me in the tournament. I also wanted them to have a celebration. They are great students, and they deserve it. I only campaigned mostly for the first round against Mr. Frailey. He gave me an extremely tough campaign battle. It was a lot of back and forth between his classes and mine. Some of the students hung posters and had friends carry around a picture of me saying vote for Marasco. This was something very different that got the teachers and students involved. This brought a lot of students together,” Marasco said. 

 Vanish won against Tippet-Wertz and Falger won against Dumm. While Pittsburgh chicken salad and penne with meat sauce move onto the Sweet 16. After round one and two, the match up is called “The Sweet 16”

“I like March Madness. It is a fun thing to do between the teachers and the students. You never know how a vote will end because everyone has different opinions,” sophomore Karinna Wolfe said. 

Once the eight winners of that round are announced, the teachers were in a bracket called the elite. Then, the two teacher winners and the two lunch meals face off in a bracket called the Final Four. 

One teacher is going to have the privilege of being named the first ever AAHS March Madness champion,” Krug said. 

 The winners were Falger and mashed potato bowl. The last vote was March 24 between Sipes and  Falger and mash potato vs. holiday dinner.

I am so excited about the win. I had no idea that when I entered the contest that I would win. I was impressed that I made it through the first round, let alone come out to win the entire thing.    It was awesome to see my current and former students come together to make me the overall winner, and I really appreciate everything that everyone did for my victory,” Falger said.