As Maine high school basketball headed into tournament action, The First presented Rockland District High School with a $1,650 donation from the bank’s signature athletic programming sponsorship initiative called First Hoop.

Designed to promote team spirit and fan participation, First Hoop was launched in 2005 by The First. For the 2009-2010 basketball season, five high schools came forward to participate in the program, including Rockland, Calais High School, Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, Medomak Valley High School and Shead High School in Eastport.

Rockland District High School is one of the newest First Hoop schools, joining the program in 2008. Athletic Director Jim Leonard said he couldn’t be happier with the results of the past two years.

“It’s always great to work with the outstanding people of The First,” Leonard said in a news release. “They are truly part of the Tiger family. The First doesn’t just donate funds to our programs, but they actually come to the games and serve as part of our school community.”

Through First Hoop, The First supported each participating school’s general athletic programming fund by awarding a cash donation at every home court basketball game. The donation awarded at each game was dependent on the outcome of a series of events. The base donation was $50, automatically awarded at the start of every home varsity game. Another $50 was added to the fund if the first hoop of the game was scored by the home team. Finally, $50 was added to the fund if a randomly drawn spectator (also known as The First Fan) successfully made a free-throw hoop at halftime.

In its fifth season, First Hoop donated a total of $10,250 to the five high schools’ sports programming funds.

“We have received so many enthusiastic comments about this program from school administrators and fans alike,” said bank President and CEO Dan Daigneault. “I want to thank our banking staff members who volunteer their time at these games. Through their stewardship, First Hoop has made a significant contribution to high school athletics for a fifth year.”

For more information about The First, call 800-564-3195 or visit the1st.com.