Beaufort County teachers took their opponents – first the Marines and then Bluffton Township firefighters – to school to win the inaugural Holiday Heart Warming Classic, held Dec. 8 at Bluffton High School.

Sponsored by the Bluffton Police Department, which also participated, the event raised $1,035 for gift cards so that a local child could “Shop with a Cop” this season.

BPD spokeswoman Joy Nelson said each school resource officer was tasked with identifying one child at his or her school who could benefit from a $100 Walmart gift card.

“Some of the kids don’t have the most favorable thoughts about law enforcement, so this is going to have an impact,” said Nelson. “One of the students was really nervous about this when she was chosen by the SRO. The officer started talking to her about the event and now she is over the moon and has a completely different outlook.”

Students can use the gift cards to buy gifts for their parents or themselves, Nelson said. It’s up to them.

In addition to the basketball games, there were basketball and cheerleading clinics conducted by the Bluffton High School varsity members for the children in attendance.

“The whole thing was awesome and we definitely plan on doing it again in the future,” Nelson said.

Gwyneth J. Saunders is a veteran journalist and freelance writer living in Bluffton.