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SHS King of the Court raises record totals, hits close to home


Monday night’s home Sullivan High School volleyball game against the Clay City Eels was a tearful night for the King of the Court competition.

The purpose of King of the Court is for remembering those lost in the past and recognizing those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Every year since 2002, the SHS volleyball team has been raising money for Riley Children’s Hospital by having this fundraiser.

This year’s fundraiser was close to home as Sullivan had recently just lost one of their own, Luke Jones, on July 21, 2017.

This year’s kings of the court wanted to make a lasting impression by raising money just like Jones had left a lasting impression on them. Jones’s brother, Caleb Jones, was one of those on the court.

Monday night he became the new King of Court by raising $4,340 on his own. His runner-up, Grant Bell raised a total of $1,601.19. The total raised this year for Riley Hospital was over $10,000.

In total from 2002 to Monday’s game, the total raised is well over $50,000.

“I was inspired to go out to family and friends to raise as much as I could because it was for such a great cause,” Caleb said. “Plus, I wanted to set my goal to beat 2015 King Brody Stoltz who had raised $1,328.”

Caleb spent a lot of time at Riley with his younger brother Luke.

“It was an honor to be a part of this, and I was proud to help raise money,” Caleb said.

Caleb, along with family and friends, will be taking the check personally to Riley this year.

The Clay City Eels also participated in the fundraiser by purchasing the cancer shirts their team wore.

The team T-shirts were made with the help of local sponsors and the purchase of these shirts went to the Luke Jones Scholarship Fund, which raised $1,550. Last year’s scholarship went to Emma Willis and Shane Gardner. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to one male senior and female senior.

King of the Court began with the SHS volleyball coach Judy Badger.

Badger’s granddaughter, Addison Ann, was born with Leukemia on June 12, 2001. Ann spent most her first year at Riley.

This is where Badger noticed that the Child Life Services division floor was in need of items for kids diagnosed with cancer. There were no monitors, toys, strollers, mobiles, etc.

During that volleyball season, she came up with the King of Court fundraiser. As of now, you can go to this same children’s floor at Riley and see they now have purchased many items for the children, such as iPads, an XBox, video games, toys and more. All of these purchases have been with the help of the $50,000 raised for this floor from SHS.

“Raising this much money in such a small community is amazing,” Badger said. “I am honored to live in a community that thrives on helping others. Our schools and community have lots of love and support.”

Monday night’s game also brought tears when Emma Royer began to read and honor her friend, Luke. Royer spoke through tears while one of the officials put her arm around her for comfort, as she read.

Royer read about how great her friend was, and that she had asked others to describe Luke with one word. Some of their responses were positive, courageous, caring, unselfish, tough, radiant, authentic, inspirational, legendary, joyful, hysterical, smiling, fearless, awesome, determined, lovable, strong, cute, fun, kind, hero and Godly.

“Sullivan High School has heard the word ‘diagnosis’ too many times,” Royer said. “We celebrate the cure of Addison Badger, Ally Bennett, Chloe Alexander and others.”

Finishing her speech, Royer said, “Live like Luke and never give up!”

Previous King of the Court winners and dollar amounts raised:

2013 – King Jace Moody raised $808 with a court total of $1,600.

2014 – King Jake Foster raised $1,215 with a court total of $4,018.

2015 – King Brody Stoltz raised $1,328 with a court total of over $1,800.

2016 – King Patrick Badger raised $612 with a court total of over $1,300.

2017 – King Matt Wardell raised $843 with a court total of over $1,500.

2018 – King Caleb Jones raised $4,350 with a court total of over $10,000.

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