Both teams pause for the national anthem sung by three students. (Photo by Kelsey Shea).

A large crowd chanting the names James Harrison and Charlie Batch is hardly an uncommon phenomenon on the Northside, but what’s slightly unusual is when it’s intermixed with the names of Pittsburgh Public School teachers.

But that’s just what happened last night when faculty members from Oliver and Perry high schools played four quarters of friendly and fundraising basketball against six Pittsburgh Steelers, including Charlie Batch, James Farrior and James Harrison in the gym of Perry Traditional Academy.

“It’s a wonderful experience to be out here with the Oliver teachers to beat on the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Dominique Thornhill, who teaches ninth and tenth grade English at Perry. “I told James Harrison that I’d be the one scoring all the three pointers.

Though the Steelers were the ultimate winners of the game, it was the two Northside high schools who were the real winners, raising $500 that will be used for activities to ease the transition of the two high schools upcoming merger.

“It is absolutely wonderful to be out here in the community doing this,” said Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

At the half time, the six Steelers players signed autographs and interacted with the enthusiastic crowd of several hundred Northsiders.

Oliver High School will close at the end of this school year, and the roughly 200 Oliver students will move to Perry Traditional Academy to form a single Northside High School.

After the first quarter, City Council President Darlene Harris read a proclamation from City Council that declared March 7 Perry Oliver Unity day.

“Last night was a great night with a happy, positive atmosphere,” said Perry administrator John Clayton. “A good time was had by all.”

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