Deputies, students bond through basketball

Michael Tortorich
The teams square off on the court.

First it was the Gonzales Police Department, this time it was the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

After Gonzales Middle School students faced Gonzales officers in a friendly game of basketball last month, a team of deputies took up the challenge against the same team of Bulldogs.

The deputies ended up with bragging rights, taking a 50-32 victory over the students.

Last month Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson suited up with officers and took the court for the game, which is a reward for students at the school who have no infractions throughout the month.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley brought together a team of his own to challenge the students Friday afternoon.

Gonzales Middle paraprofessional Susan Minvielle said both the police department and the sheriff’s office have been supportive of the reward program over the last two months.

Minvielle said the Gonzales Fire Department plans to get together a team for next month. In the following months, she said she will continue to look for other agencies that may want to get involved with the school’s program.

Gonzales Middle principal Lori G. Charlet thanked the deputies for spending time on campus with the students.

Charlet said the deputies and students have grown closer to each other in the time they’ve spent together, even having fun “clowning with each other” at lunch.

She said the deputies took the challenge seriously and practiced hard to get prepared for Friday’s game.

Last month Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent Donald Songy came out to show support. This time Wiley brought along Chief Deputy Tony Bacala and Col. Paul Robert.

“I don’t think I ever went a month without getting into trouble when I was in school,” Wiley joked as he talked to the students prior to the game.

Wiley also “guaranteed victory.” But before he could finish his sentence he was cut off by the students’ reaction.

“I guarantee victory for somebody today, but I’m not sure who,” the sheriff joked.

The Gonzales Middle team shows unity before hitting the hardwood.