The winners of the tournament’s ladies division were, from left: Tricia McLemore, Helene Antel, PJ Kanline and Megan Selah. [ Walter Woodrick | Contributed ]
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Pickleball tourney boosts elementary education

Gulf County Schools employees and tournament participants, from left: Melissa Hancock and Wendy Woodrick, together with Port St. Joe Elementary School Principal Jessica Brock and Walter Woodrick.
[ Walter Woodrick | Contributed ]

The local pickleball community held a flash tournament Oct. 15 to raise money for the teachers and paraprofessionals at Port St. Joe Elementary School. 

Over $3,350 was raised through player registration fees, donations, and silent auction proceeds.

Last September, local pickleball legend Ed Mitchem said that since “teachers spend a lot of their own money on their students and classrooms, we should have a fundraiser to help them.”

Walter Woodrick of Woodrick Financial, the primary sponsor of the event, said that “when we saw we had a Saturday with a good weather forecast, we put this together in about a week. We have very generous pickleball players in Port St. Joe who rallied together to show the elementary school teachers that they are loved and appreciated.

“It doesn’t take long to raise money with pickleball and generous people,” he said.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America, and that growth is evident by the increasing number of players who regularly play the courts at Frank Pate Park and at Salinas Park.

“We are so thankful to have two places to play thanks to the vision and commitment from the City of Port St Joe and Gulf County,” said Woodrick. “We had so many people sign up for this tournament, we had to use both locations. We already have a couple of ideas for fundraisers in addition to the Pickleball for Sea Turtles tournament that will be held March 14-17.”

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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