Game to pit police against school teachers

Merrimack | Town’s basketball showdown to benefit PACT.

Photo courtesy of MERRIMACK POLICE FACEBOOK PAGEMerrimack police and James Mastricola Upper Elementary School teachers are shown at a past PACT fundraiser game. This year’s game is at 6:30 p.m. March 10.

MERRIMACK – The town’s police and elementary school teachers will face off in the annual PACT Basketball game at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 10, at James Mastricola Upper Elementary School.

The admission fee is $1, and all proceeds from the game will benefit the PACT program.

PACT, which stands for Police And Children Together, took the place of the DARE program to help young students stand up to peer pressure, Merrimack Police Chief Mark Doyle said.

“It focuses on peer pressure, substance misuse, working together as a team and recognizing the police in the community,” Doyle said Tuesday. “It follows the same peer pressure model as DARE.”

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, or DARE, was also sponsored by the Merrimack Police Department. Instead of focusing on the middle school level, PACT is geared toward fifth-grade students.

Over the six-week program, PACT provides students with drug and alcohol resistance information, and also covers topics such as bullying and fostering good decision-making skills.

“It’s really fun,” Rob Kelleher, PACT coordinator at Mastricola Upper Elementary, said Wednesday afternoon, noting this will be the eighth annual game against the JMUES teachers.

“We want the kids to come out with their families,” he said. “We’re just looking to cover the cost of the program.”

The evening will feature a competition between students, as well, he said.

“That night at halftime, we will do a championship ‘knockout’ tournament,” Kelleher said.

Leading up to the game, students have been competing in gym classes to see who has the best dunking skills. Friday night, the top students from each gym class with compete for prizes.

Kelleher said the game does more than raise funds for PACT.

“I think the game really brings us all together,” he said. “Where the kids can see me as a police officer teaching them at school, I’m also a dad and a regular person, too. It’s good to show them not only the teaching aspect – making good decisions – but we are also part of the community, too. It’s been a success.”

Kelleher said about 14 officers and 14 JMUES teachers will come out for the game.

While Doyle will attend the game, after breaking his foot playing last year, he said he’ll sit this one out.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-1246, or @Telegraph_TinaF.


For more information about PACT, visit