The Castle Challenge continues to be a winning tradition for DeKalb and Sycamore high schools more than 14 years after it began, one that ought to continue for years to come.
This year, more than 90 organizations signed on to sponsor the effort, which raises funds for the DeKalb and Sycamore booster clubs. This year, more than $50,000 was raised through various fundraising efforts.
The challenge serves as a great backdrop for the annual football and boys’ and girls’ basketball games that draw thousands of local people each year.
Northern Illinois University plays an important role in providing the Convocation Center and Huskie Stadium as the backdrop for the games, with their overhead scoreboards and video replay capabilities, certainly helps to make them feel special for the fans and the players.
The larger venues also are necessary to accommodate the tremendous crowds. An estimated 8,000 people attended the September football matchup between the Barbs and Spartans at Huskie Stadium. The crowd for the hoops matchups was 3,700 – the largest crowd of the year for a basketball game at the Convocation Center all season.
That’s another side benefit of the big events: They bring together many people from the local community, friends, neighbors and classmates.
Of course, the major benefit of the Castle Challenge is the fundraising, and this year the effort raised more than $50,000 for the local sports programs, which can use them to purchase uniforms and other equipment.
Considering the support that local fans and businesses show the local athletes, it’s money well spent.
The challenge is a community fundraising event DeKalb and Sycamore residents can be as proud of as they are of the athletes from their communities on the gridiron and the hardwood. It is great to see how the friendly prep sports rivalry between DeKalb and Sycamore has been channeled into a fundraising effort that can raise money for both programs and bring people from the community together en masse at the same time.
Here’s hoping that next year brings another Castle Challenge that continues the tradition of success.