Battle of the Badges

This past Thursday, Feb. 5th, the Harold Alfond Youth Center hosted the city’s Seventh annual Battle of the Badges. There on the basketball court, Waterville’s Police Department faced off the Fire Department in a friendly yet heated basketball match.

The game works in connection with the South End Teen Center (SETC), a local afterschool program for students in grades 6 through 12. The SETC provides teens with a comfortable and welcoming environment that serves to support the students in their academic and personal lives. Running mostly on local funds and grants, financing money for the SETC’s operations is a difficult task yet vital in order to support the teens in the center.

Since its conception in 2008, the Battle of the Badges has served as an important source of support for the SETC, with all proceeds from ticket sales directly benefiting the center, in addition to both teams each having one teen play as representatives of the center.

Stephen Soule, a retired school principal after 33 years and the current Director of the SETC, emphasized the significance of the annual basketball match to the center. “We are very fortunate to have two community organizations willing to have a basketball game to help support the South End Teen Center,” Soule said in regard to the event.

With last year’s event ending with a nailbiting finish in double overtime, the high stakes of this year’s game drew an enthusiastic crowd. Opening the game were students from Clinton Elementary School to sing the national anthem and dancers from Maureen’s School of Dance performed as the halftime show.

Community members from all over Waterville gathered together on the cold weeknight to cheer for the teams as well as to show support for the SETC, unifying the community around this more recent tradition. Although the Police Department’s team outplayed their fire fighting opponents to won the game, it was truly the entire community who celebrated strength and victory that night.

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