Challenger Basketball offers many rewards
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Homeroom special education teacher Kelli Meier played big role in the development of the program, Ricotta said. Also, teaching assistant Dan Drumm has helped organize practices, officiated games and worked on fundamental skills with the players. Sherri House, who works with the students in the classroom, encourages the students and reinforces their self-esteem, Ricotta added.
“The entire South community has been nothing but supportive,” Ricotta said, “from students in school clubs making posters, baking treats for the team and assisting players on the court during games, to teachers, including our principal Maureen Henry, excitably cheering in the stands with words of encouragement and genuine enthusiasm during games.” Ricotta added that the South Parents Club also donated jerseys for the team to use.
Barbara Madigan, a guidance counselor at South, made the trip to Oceanside to cheer on the students with a few of her colleagues. “It’s fantastic to see,” she said. “It’s great to see them happy that they’re participating.” She added that the kids constantly talk about their games in school because they’re so excited.
Also in the stands cheering on South was Kevin Donovan, whose 14-year-old daughter, Catherine, plays on the team. “They don’t put pressure on them which is nice and they’re all having a great time,” he said. “When [Catherine] comes home she’s exhausted and she’s talking about how much fun it was.”
Ricotta said the students were ecstatic to join the team and practice in the gymnasium every other day during ninth period. “This not only gives the students more time to practice and be physically active,” she said, “but also time to work on skills beyond the physical such as teamwork, communication and self-expression.”