As a community, we should be proud of the Colorado Academy boys basketball team, led by Head Coach Steve Hyatt, for their drive, competitiveness, and ability on the court as well as their sincere kindness off the court. Three specific examples of the programs selflessness and goodwill came to my attention the past month.
In an Eighth Grade game against a fellow ACIS team, Head Coach Dan Pratt and his team understood that a player on the other team could benefit from some generosity of heart. Not for lack of effort or determination, the opponent’s player was a special needs student and was struggling to keep up with the pace of the game. CA Eighth Grader, Clayton Johnson, should be singled out for disguising his own abilities and for allowing the opponent to “steal” the ball a number of times and then failing to play “proper” defense and allowing the determined opponent to make a few baskets. Both teams cheered wildly when the steals were made, and the baskets were successful. The visiting individual clearly felt proud, and I am hopeful that the Eighth Grade boys knew the impact of their actions. I am grateful for our CA boys who showed sensitivity toward their opponent and had the capacity to understand that the “victory” was seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces.
Two Senior basketball players, Mark LeClair and Liam Hall recently exhibited understanding when they were part of a “job shadow” experience for a visiting young man from an area school that caters to learning differences. When the visitor showed up on campus to spend his day with Assistant Athletic Director Jon Hill, it was evident that this young man was dealing with hemiparesis, or weakness on one side of the body. The visitor was self-conscious about his condition, but that seemed to go away when he connected with LeClair and Hall and they made him feel right at home. The CA seniors ate lunch, laughed, and then shot some hoops with the young man. When the visitor’s mother picked him up at the end of the day, he wanted to see our CA seniors who had obviously made a positive impression on him to say goodbye and thank you. It was heartwarming to see the three boys meet and share their experiences. Liam and Mark, thank you.
Finally, 13 Varsity and JV Boys Basketball players took a day off from school to help at the Colorado Adapted Basketball Tournament held annually at Gold Crown in Lakewood. The boys were assigned to courts where they officiated, demonstrated, coached, and supported the participants throughout the entire day. Twenty-eight teams from districts across Colorado competed including Aurora, Boulder, Brighton, Denver, Douglas County, Greeley, Littleton, Lewis-Palmer, Cherry Creek, and Jefferson County. Coach Steve Hyatt, who was a 30-year public school and special needs teacher at Bear Creek, said, “It was impressive to see the players embrace the circumstances and step outside of their world to help others.” Well done boys.
I’m continuously amazed by our CA students and their ability to be kind to others, take care of each other, and focus on what’s really important. These are just some of the many examples that show our students’ compassion, and they are a testament to the quality nature of the students that go to CA and the people in our community.