MIDDLETOWN – Stars and Wizards will align on the basketball court at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Woodrow Wilson Middle School to raise funds for a much-needed program.
The stars are Team Middletown United, including Mayor Dan ‘the Man’ Drew, Derek ‘Officer’ Puorro and Principal Jon Romeo.
The wizards are the Harlem Wizards, who perform “trick-hoops & alley-oops.”
The program is Unified Sports, which allows students with special needs to participate in organized athletic competition by pairing them with “ partners” who assist in their training and performance. Funds raised will help provide transportation, uniforms, officiating, and coaching.
“Our Unified Sports program has allowed our special needs students to compete and experience the joy of sport participation,” said Deb Petruzzello, Wilson's Athletic Faculty Manager. “The ‘partners’ from the regular education population learn about understanding differences, teaching and sharing. The program is three years old and needs funds to continue. It was amazing to see the members of the Unified team dress in ties and button-down shirts on game day and walk through the halls proudly – like the other Wilson team does for their games.”
The program at Wilson is currently limited to basketball, and special education teacher Kate Kalisz said she wants to expand it to include soccer and track and field.
The basketball program has already seen success as Wilson became the first middle school in the state to win the Sportsmanship Award from the state’s athletic directors. The team included Tony Petruzzello, a special needs student and participant in Unified Sports who went on to play for the Rams and score points with assists from his teammates.
Tickets for the game may be purchased at Wilson, 1 Wilderman’s Way or at Farm Hill School, 390 Ridge Road. They are $7 for students and seniors in advance, $9 at the door; $8 for adults in advance and $11 at the door.
This information came from a press release.