CARLSBAD, Calif. - Athletes at Carlsbad High School played their hearts out on Tuesday to raise money for the children of a popular teacher who was killed over the summer.
The girls' basketball team played not one, but three basketball games on Tuesday. Both the girls' junior varsity and varsity basketball teams will play 15 games over five consecutive days in their school's gymnasiums.The games are part of a fundraiser for the family of beloved teacher Jason Harper, who was shot to death in August.
"I think it was very tough for the family, friends, colleagues, students… the way the whole thing happened," said Amanda Waters, the head coach for the Carlsbad High School girls' basketball team. "The tragedy was so quick and sudden. I don't think anyone really had time to process."
Harper, 39, was found shot to death inside his Carlsbad home on Aug. 8. His body was discovered with a single gunshot wound.
His wife of 10 years, Julie Harper, had just filed for divorce. She was arrested and is accused of his murder. If convicted, she faces 50 years in prison.
The discovery was especially hard on the students who looked up to him.
"Mr. Harper was a super sweet teacher," said Rachel Lisk, the captain of the girls' varsity basketball team. "He was always around campus, always playing basketball with everyone."
That is why she and her fellow Lancers will play this first memorial tournament in Harper's honor. They are raising money for the Harpers' three small children who are now in foster care.
"With this tournament, we are hoping to raise enough money to go to that college fund so it's something they don't have to worry about," added Waters.
Lisk could not agree more.
"It's really important to raise money for his kids so they can go to college in the future like we all want to," she said. "It's a really big deal to us."
Waters said their goal is to make $5,000 this weekend.
She also hopes to make this an annual event. The event is open to the public.