By John Cohen
It was a triple celebration on Dec. 26 at Steilacoom High School. The yearly holiday basketball game marked SHS coach Gary Wusterbarth’s 25th year of coaching at the school.
It also marked the 15th year for the post-holiday basketball game when SHS basketball alums return to prove they “still have it”—despite some players being away from competitive basketball for more than a few years.
The event began with a fashion show of sorts. Current high school students modeled men’s basketball uniforms worn throughout Coach Wusterbarth’s career at the school (above).
Before the court action began, “Wustie” introduced alumni players, some of whom traveled from as far away as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to participate in the night’s contest. In the course of the action, athletes put on an impressive show of talent; playing two 20-minute halves.
An additional highlight of this year’s event was the halftime recognition of Nick Brown, a 1995 SHS grad, as the 2009 Alumnus of the Year (above) and son of Steilacoom’s Hank and Pat Brown. The honor was presented by the Steilacoom Historical Education Foundation
After Nick’s graduation from SHS, he received an Army ROTC Scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Next, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 2002. During his law school studies, he took a semester off to compete in the CBS reality program “Survivor: Australia.”
After completing law school he spent four years on active duty in the Army practicing Family Law and serving as defense council for soldiers. During 2005 – 2006, Nick completed a tour in Iraq. He returned to Washington State, finishing his military service by working for the prosecutor’s office at Fort Lewis.
Mr. Brown currently serves as a Deputy U.S. Attorney headquartered in Seattle. He works in the General Crimes Unit which deals primarily with drug cases and white collar crime.
In addition to his scholastic, military and honors as an attorney, Nick has continually been involved in volunteer activities. While in college, he did an internship with the Washington State Human Rights Commission researching for discrimination cases. With the Pierce County United Way, he participated in “Project U” which was designed to get young adults involved in community activities.
In Seattle, Nick currently serves on a King County Juvenile Justice System Community Accountability Board. The board assigns community service projects to youth in trouble with the law. He has recently become involved with Tree House, organizing fund-raisers for activities that support foster children.
Nick is active in the Harvard Club of Seattle. He has worked on the club’s “Prize Book” project which, with the help of high school staff, selects a junior who shows a “variety of achievements.” These students receive a “Prize Book” which includes articles relating to Harvard. Through Nick’s efforts, Steilacoom High participate in this project next spring. This will make SHS only the second high school outside of King County to be part of the “Prize Book “program.
“Education is the foundation for everything I have done and will do. I started attending school here in 2nd grade. I appreciate attending small schools like Steilacoom High School,” said Mr. Brown.
Nick is the son of Hank and Pat Brown of Steilacoom.