“Being a teacher at Conant is part of what defines me”
Hoops For Hope
It was a packed crowd and record breaking fundraising for the 8th annual Hoops for Hope (H4H) event hosted this year at Conant High School. The event, raising over $5,800, continues to support members of the community afflicted with cancer. Michele Chadbourne, Conant High School English teacher and one of the founding members of Hoops for Hope discussed the popular annual event. “Hoops for Hope began after Brooke Springfield (Conant graduate 2011) and her mom, Nancy (JGS teacher) saw an article in the Keene Sentinel about the Keene High Volleyball Team having a Dig Pink game. Brooke wanted the Conant Girls’ Basketball Team to hold a similar event so a committee was formed and the first game was played eight years ago. At that time, only the girls played, but in the 2012-2013 school year, the boys also became part of the fundraising event.”
In the early years, the committee donated to large cancer organizations such as the Susan G. Komen foundation. “A few years ago, we changed our focus to recognize all cancers. Since then, we have donated the funds to families in the local community who are battling cancer.”
The 2017 Hoops for Hope event was full of special moments for Michele. For the first time H4H kicked off the event with the Unified Team. Michele described her enjoyment watching the unified players because she could see the “pure joy on their faces and the appreciation for their teammates and coaches.” Other H4H highlights for Michele included speaking to the crowd with Kathleen Walker and Patty Leibman. Michele stated, “I could not have been there by myself.” All three of Michele’s daughter were in attendance for the event. Her youngest daughter, CHS senior Grace, played through an injury to start the game.
“I got into teaching in my late 30’s, I did not know it was my calling. What I do is important. It has been the hardest thing not being in school for the past few weeks. Being a teacher at Conant is part of what defines me.
I started in the district over twenty years ago as a long-term sub at RMS. I returned to the district as a part-time employee in the high school media center and then as an instructional associate in both English and math classrooms. I left the district in 2007 and returned in 2009 as a special education teacher at Conant. In the past seven years, I have taught English, co-taught in both English and social studies, and been assigned to both math and English labs to support the special education population.
My hope for Conant High School and the district is that we maintain a reputation of consistency and caring for our students. From K-12, our students need the opportunity and resources to prepare and advance them from one grade to the next. And that means a commitment from administration and teachers to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what/how we teach. We need to challenge students while making the learning relevant to their lives. We spend nearly half the day with our students...our connections with them are impactful!”
In describing her reaction to her own diagnosis, Michele says, “There is no place for anger in all of this. It does not help me. It does not help anyone.” Michele misses CHS students and staff stating, “The students and staff have been a huge support network. I miss my Conant family. I want to get better so that I can get back into the classroom. Michele maintains optimism and a positive outlook, “I have surprised myself on how well I have dealt with my cancer. Now, in order to get better I need to focus on getting healthy.”