Eric Haynes/Courier Faculty's Dean Sao attempts to dribble past Ujima's Bryson Drayson towards the basket during the annual Ujima/Faculty Staff game at the Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Thursday, Feburary 18, 2016.
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On Thursday afternoon, Ujima students defeated program faculty and staff in their annual basketball game in the gymnasium.

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Katja Liebing/Courier Kevin Scroggins dribbles the ball down the court with Parker Williams running alongside him during the annual Ujima faculty & staff vs Ujima Royalty basketball game in the Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Thursday, February 18, 2016.

The Ujima program hosts its basketball game every year, perfectly coinciding with Black History Month to further enhance their program as a learning, leading, and social pathway for African American students on campus.

The annual Ujima Ball is more than a typical PCC basketball game and is symbolic of what the Ujima program stands for on campus. While players on both teams take the outcome of the game seriously, it’s all in good fun and a little trash-talking is just part of the experience.

Deron Wilson, a PCC student who briefly participated in the game, has been with Ujima through three of their annual games.

“When I first came into the program about three years ago, it was and still is all about fun,” Wilson said. “It’s fun how we all talk trash amongst each other. I know one of the players on the faculty team, and then you have your friends on your own team, so it’s great to play and get a little competitive.”

The Faculty/Staff team is composed of teachers, counselors, administrators, and other members of PCC who participate in or support the Ujima program.

The event has become popular on campus.

“I wish they would do [Ujima Ball] at least twice a year, maybe once each semester, but I think they like to have it during basketball season,” Wilson said.

Jessie Grant, a PCC freshman, played for the Ujima Royalty, and enjoyed his first experience with Ujima Ball. He plans to try out for the PCC basketball team, especially with the positive experience he had with Ujima Ball.

Through the Ujima program, Grant has found a sense of camaraderie on the PCC campus and among his peers and has found life lessons amidst the friendly competition.

“The game reminds me of brotherhood,” Grant said. “It’s a community between staff and students, but it brings about African culture between adults and childhood. It brings about a deep purpose of showing fathers and sons how to connect and bond with one another.”

The Ujima Royalty left the court with a golden trophy, and the Staff/Faculty left with appreciation for the students they coach, counsel and work alongside.

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