What started out as a promise of hot chocolate turned into a viral video for a Washington, DC, teacher.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, otherwise known as Ms. Fitz, decided to make a deal with her third-grade class at Holy Trinity School in Georgetown, a few blocks from the Potomac River.
The deal was if she made a full-court shot on the school’s basketball court, she would reward the class with a hot chocolate party.
And Ms. Fitz was nothing but net.
“I think it was a tie between who was more excited,” Fitzpatrick told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on December 24. “I knew it was going to go in, but at the same time I was hoping because I had promised them hot chocolate, so it had to go in.”
The video shows the students and Ms. Fitz jumping for joy after she made the shot.
Fitzpatrick told CNN she usually plays basketball with the kids at recess. “They’re always impressed by the littlest shots, so I joked around and initiated this deal,” she said.
“I felt bad because I had actually given my students two tests that Friday,” Fitzpatrick told CNN. “They were working so hard and had so much to finish before the holiday break, so they very much deserved it.”
The video quickly started to go viral during Christmas week.
“The kids would come into class in the morning and go ‘Ms. Fitz, this is going viral!’” Fitzpatrick said. “But kids can exaggerate, and I only have an Instagram, so I didn’t really know.”
Fitzpatrick said she’s now heard from people all over the world including Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Basketball runs in the family
Fitzpatrick’s skills don’t come as a surprise, because she has been playing basketball her entire life. Her cousin and brothers have also played.
She is the basketball coach for the fifth grade boys at Holy Trinity. She coaches alongside her mother, Ellen, who filmed the video.
“I grew up around it and have loved it ever since really I can remember.” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick is a former member of the women’s basketball team at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
She transferred to Rutgers in 2016 and played for Hall of Fame coach Vivian Stringer.
“Playing at Rutgers for a state university and for a Hall of Fame coach was unreal,” Fitzpatrick told CNN. “I learned so much on and off the court.”
Fitzpatrick said she had such an amazing experience with Stringer that she decided to stay an extra year and coached for Stringer as a graduate assistant. “I learned so much from really one of the best to do it.”
The Rutgers women’s basketball team responded on Twitter to the viral video, showing it hasn’t forgotten about its former star.
“The surreal part is the whole point of the video was to have fun with my students.” Fitzpatrick added.
The students don’t return from the break until next week, but Fitzpatrick said she can only imagine they’ll have some more bet ideas waiting.
Now that her skills have made her famous, Fitzpatrick started a TikTok account in addition to her Instagram to show off more of her moves.