Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shrine School

Thanks to the help of Mrs. Teri Graber, over the past two years we have forged a very special relationship between our Middle School and the Shrine School, a local public school which serves the physically and mentally handicapped population. Several times a year our students visit them, or they come to visit us, for a "fierce" game of basketball. The first half of the game features the wheelchair bound Shrine students playing against our students - who also take to wheelchairs for the event. In the second half, the ambulatory Shrine students, with the help of an aide or two and with exceptions made for them to the rules of dribbling, take on another set of Academy students, this time with everyone walking and running. Many of our younger grades come to the gym to watch, as one of their staff members works the microphone as the play by play announcer and inevitably gives the Shrine students an overwhelming home court advantage. With the scoreboard lit up, both teams in uniform, and a professional ref in place, it has the look and feel of any other inter-school basketball game.

But the event, of course, has very little to do with basketball. For our students it gives them an invaluable opportunity to interact in a meaningful way with the disabled population and to learn that as different as they may be with regard to race, religion, socio-economic status, physical capability, and academic ability, there are still so many areas - like a love of basketball and the thrill of performing in front of a crowd - where we are all really the same. And for their students playing against our kids is a chance to feel like a million bucks and a rare opportunity to get attention for what they can do, rather than what they can't.

For pictures and videos of the latest game, click here.

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