Handsworth basketball alumni Conor Power, Luka Petkovic, Lianna Rushworth and Diana Lee show floorboards from the old school's gym, which are being auctioned off to buy new equipment. | Nick Laba / North Shore News
By Nick Laba, North Shore News.
The sparkling new gym at Ecole Handsworth Secondary was reverberating with the sounds of squeaky sneakers and thumping basketballs during an alumni event last Thursday.
Current students have been playing on the new courts since the rebuilt school opened in February 2022, taking four years and around $68.7 million to complete.
But there are still a few key pieces of equipment that the school is hoping to buy, so Handsworth is selling parts of its old gym as keepsakes.
“There are a lot of people who feel very emotionally attached to our basketball program who would like to kind of keep a piece of that – literally,” explained principal Mark Barrett.
Interested buyers can look through an assortment of floorboards and nets on the Handsworth Final Steps Fundraiser website, and bid on one of the items via email. Once all bids have been received no later than Feb. 28, winners will be contacted for pickup and payment.
As of now, Handsworth only has its existing scorer’s bench, but the new gym can convert to run two parallel courts. To run the parallel courts, the gym also needs more shot clocks. Funds from selling the old gym items will go toward this new equipment, Barrett said.
Alumni game welcomes community to the new school
At the annual alumni meetup, Dec. 29, past and present players of the North Vancouver high school’s popular basketball program faced off on the court, a great opportunity for students nearing graduation to connect with graduates who have carried on playing the sport at higher levels.
Among the grads at the alumni event was Diana Lee, who went on to play for Boise State University and later UBC. She’s now assistant coach for the UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball team.
“She’s a legend,” Barrett said. “You don’t get a better women’s basketball player than Diana – to have her come back into our gym and play basketball here is just phenomenal.”
The meetup is a great opportunity to welcome the community in, he continued.
“With the brand new school, we’re trying to find opportunities to make it very welcoming for our entire school community,” Barrett said. “By that I mean our extended school community, not just the kids who are here now, but those who graduated.
“There’s lots of families and parents who come out,” Barrett added. “It’s their opportunity to see the school and still feel connected.”