Shaun Williams and Hunter Lesslie wanted the chance to play in the annual student-faculty basketball game at Garner High School a few years ago, just like any other Trojan who loves basketball would. And that — to be treated like anyone else is — is the simple thing any special needs student like Williams or Lesslie wants most from their school experience says Garner teacher Jane House.
So House, with help from her student leaders (who were members of the Trojan baseball, tennis, volleyball and track teams) who help with the adaptive physical education classes at Garner, came up with a plan.
The adaptive students would work together to come up with their own day of basketball fun. They’d be responsible for making signs for the games, setting up the cheerleaders to perform at the games and recruiting fellow students to take part in the event which takes place during the school day, usually in second period.
“We gave other classes the opportunity to come in and see their fellow students get the chance to play and they’ve responded in bigger numbers every year,” House said. “It is a special day for everyone involved and gives students like Shaun, who everybody calls Lebron, and Hunter the chance to be just like everybody else in school.”
The event, held this year the day before Garner’s boys basketball team played for (and won) the NCHSAA 4A state championship, was one of the most memorable events of the week leading up to Garner’s title game appearance.
The Trojan boys players were spectators and fans — just like everybody else in the gym — as the adaptive PE class took on their mentors, faculty members and coaches in a game, drills and races.
The event was covered by every area news outlet and drew raves from all involved. Now, it has earned the Trojan athletic department an award as well.
Garner is one of eight schools across the state to receive a Commissioner’s Cup award from the N.C. High School Athletic Association.
The school submitted a video to explain how they served the community with a special event. The award comes with a $1,000 stipend for the Garner athletic program.
Other winners for the award to be presented at the NCHSAA Annual Meeting on May 7 in Chapel Hill are Pender County, Swain County, Mount Plesant, Monroe Parkwood, North Henderson, Southern Durham and Charlotte Catholic.
Garner will send a group from the school to the ceremony to accept the award. Fittingly, that contigent will be led by two important participants in the service project — Shaun (excuse me, that’s Lebron) and Hunter — who will accept the award on the school’s behalf.
Archer Ks add up for Tampa area charities: Clayton’s Chris Archer will help two Tampa Bay area youth sports organizations this season. The Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher, the Rays organization and WTSP Channel 10 are donating $25 each — for a total of $75 per K — to be split between Burg Baseball and Tampa RBI every time Archer records a strikeout.
Archer had struck out a team-high 30 batters through his first four starts, meaning the donation is already up to $2,250.
The right-hander is just 2-2 but has a 1.07 earned-run average, which is the sixth lowest in the Major Leagues.