Duluth Mayor Schools Superintendent in Friendly Free Throw Competition

By KBJR News 1

August 9, 2011 Updated Aug 9, 2011 at 7:01 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Mayor Don Ness and the new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. I.V. Foster, battled it out in a fun two-out-of-three free throw contest.

The local leaders were invited to participate in the event and meet with local kids from the "Youth of Duluth" summer camp.

The program not only makes sure that these kids are getting a nutritious meal during these months off from school, but it focuses on the A-B-C's of success: Academics, Basketball, and Character.

"That circle you saw them in, that's part of the character aspect of it. The basketball with the little dribbling and the lay-ups that's obviously the basketball part of it, and those two teachers I introduced you to, that's the academic piece. So it's ABC that's what I call it," said Founder and Director Duane Byrd.

The children range from ages six to 14 and rotate through activities supporting the three foundations throughout the day.

"The ultimate objective here is academics, basketball, and character. With that, you can't loose."

Byrd said he himself is a former basketball player and school teacher so he understands the importance of athleticism and academics as well as building a strong individual from a young age.

"I played basketball for 9 years in Europe, and I know a little bit about this game. I got my degree from University of Wisconsin White Water so I know a little about academics. And, I'm a character as you can see," said Byrd.

As for Byrd's take on the Mayor and his opponent's skills? Well, he says the former basketball players did a great job.

"I think they did a phenomenal job, but I think they set me up...Dr. Foster was shooting the ball and it was going no where near the basket but I know he used to play basketball. And Mayor Don Ness was serious about this in the first part, then we switched courts in the second half and Dr. Foster did his thing. It was pure entertainment," said Byrd.

"On a grade scale, I give them both an A+"

Written for the web by Courtney Godfrey