HOUSTON – Seniors at Santa Fe High School have been offered free tickets to Thursday night's Game 5 Western Conference Finals by Houston Rockets owner and Galveston County native Tilman Fertitta.
"I have roots in Galveston County. Everybody knows that. I played on that football field before in Santa Fe," Fertitta said. "We just wanted to step up and I talked to Tad (Brown) and said, 'Hey, we need to find 300 tickets for the Santa Fe High School seniors on Thursday.'"
The Rockets will host the senior class, first responders and Santa Fe ISD. The Santa Fe High School Choir will perform the National Anthem.
The school sent a letter to seniors Tuesday about Fertitta's invitation.
The letter said, "It is our hope at Santa Fe High School that this will provide our graduating seniors with an evening to gather with friends who have reached the milestone of graduating together."
"We're going to bring all the seniors out on the court and recognize them. There's gonna be a tribute video to the deceased, and we're going to bring some of the first responders out, and just make it a special night," Fertitta said. "We're just trying to do our little bit that's all. Just trying to make a special day where 30 years from now they think about going to that Western Conference final game instead of what they had to go through their last few days of being a senior."
KPRC2 Sports Director Randy McIlvoy reported that the Rockets will honor Santa Fe High School by wearing a patch on their jerseys.
Source within #Rockets tells me they will honor and host Santa Fe Seniors and school reps from community and First responders Thursday. Tribute on court and team will wear a Santa Fe HS ribbon #SantaFeStrong @KPRC2— Randy McIlvoy (@KPRC2RandyMc) May 22, 2018
The team also said that it's 50/50 Raffle & First Shot for Charity will benefit the Santa Fe Strong Memorial Fund.
The school said due to limitations that only seniors are invited to the Rockets-Warriors game. Food and transportation will be provided.
Students are required to RSVP on the school's website by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
"You gotta remember. The freshmen, the sophomores, the juniors get to go back and have some decent times the rest of their high school career. For the seniors this is their moment," Fertitta said. "It’s just something that we can do to recognize the deceased and let the survivors have a great time and probably a lot of them have never been to a Rockets game before, but especially a Western Conference finals game."
It's the latest gesture of goodwill for Santa Fe from the Houston-area community.
The Rockets return home Thursday for Game 5 of their Western Conference Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors.