Best Buddies score during annual basketball game

Danny deBoer, Staff Writer

On November 20, the Best Buddies club at GCHS hosted a basketball game for its members, showcasing a wide variety of different mental and physical disabilities, with a silent auction happening on the sidelines for others to participate in.

The games started at 6:30 p.m. Two teams on both sides of the court played their own separate games, and each team had their own separate score. Both teams made sure that everybody had a chance to score with most participants making a basket. Each game lasted eight minutes with a small intermission in between. There was also a pre-game performance by the JV Cheer team and an intermission show by the Varsity Cheer team.

The silent auction consisted of a large variety of items, from an end table from woodworking to other various items and gift baskets. There was a large turnout with many parents and even other students arriving at the event. With all those people there was certainly a lot of cheering.

The Best Buddies program, which has been operating at GCHS for seven years, has hosted a variety of students with disabilities such as paralysis, severely autism, nonverbal, severe mental capacities, and so on. Stemming from a global organization, Best Buddies continues to provide fun and a sense of belonging for students with disabilities at GCHS.

So far this school year the program has hosted both a boys and girls volleyball game, as well as some games of bowling, a Halloween party this past October, a trip to the zoo, and a future event known as the Friendship Walk, which will be hosted in Spring 2018.

“We want to give kids a sense of belonging in the community,” said CTE teacher Jen Pope.

Some schools have adopted similar programs to Best Buddies, like how North has Knight Buddies. Other school have programs for special needs students that aren’t headed by the global Best Buddies group.

Students looking to join Best Buddies can talk to Pope in the Family and Consumer Sciences area of the building. There is a general meeting on the third Wednesday of every month with at least one meeting a month, and an additional officer meeting on the third Thursday of every month.