MATTHEWS – On Feb. 15, 35 Crestdale Middle School students piled onto a bus headed Uptown wearing new Under Armour shirts, shoes and shorts as part of the NBA All-Star Game festivities.
The Jr. NBA Cares initiative took middle-schoolers from all Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to the event, which was held in three shifts of 1.5-hour increments. There, the kids went through a pep rally and then took part in drills with the allure of possibly meeting an NBA superstar.
To be selected, students had to apply, fill out an application and write an essay on what it means to be a Wildcat, the school’s mascot, and to do the right thing.
More than 50 sixth- and seventh-grade students applied, and Dean of Students Brooke Voorheis headed a committee that whittled the applicant pool down.
“We chose students that represent well, show good character and who do the right thing,” she said.
Two such students – seventh-graders Christian Worthy and Billy Wilkes – shared what they wrote about.
Wilkes’ essay was about what it means to do the right thing in all situations.
“When you do the right thing it’s important,” he said. “I wrote about sports, and if you’re on a sports team, you have to do the right thing in order to stay on that team. If you’re doing the right thing you’ll get good grades and make friends.”
Worthy, who said he was hoping to meet LeBron James and ask him a few questions, wrote his essay on why it’s important to do the right thing in the classroom.
“You might have to do sprints and push-ups after practice if you don’t do the right thing and that’s a lot of extra work,” he said.
Football and track and field coach Andy Cambruzzi, who has been a physical education teacher since the school opened, science teacher and Wildcat athletic director Michael Woods and language teacher Ellen Henderson were chosen as chaperones because they are among Crestdale teachers with perfect attendance this school year. But this was all about the kids, and none of them could have expected what would happen next.
During the shooting drills, former Charlotte Christian and current megastar for the Golden State Warriors Steph Curry came and shot with some of the kids, something many will not soon forget.
“Definitely an amazing opportunity for these kids!” Christina Marie Swoyer Chase wrote on Facebook. “A big thank you to all who made this happen. Mason will never forget that he met Steph Curry.”
“Ty had a blast!! Shooting drills w Steph Curry … it doesn’t get better than that!!!,” Sherry Squaires Showalter commented on the school’s page.