By Anna SkinnerOn Feb. 12, the Student Impact basketball finals took place in the Westfield High School gym, but the real action took place during the break between the two games when Westfield’s Best Buddies students played a basketball game as well.
For the past five years, the Best Buddies students, together with their matched student peers, have split up into two teams and played a basketball game between the Student Impact finals games.
“Student Impact invites us to play because they want to celebrate all of the students’ accomplishments, and this group of kids doesn’t usually get to play for a cheering audience,” Michelle Goudy, the faculty Best Buddies adviser, said. “It gives them (the Best Buddies) a sense of accomplishment and of feeling worthy and being a part of the student body.”
Last year during the Best Buddies game, the Lion’s Club surprised the group with a check for about $200 and $150 worth of gift cards from Pizza Hut. Special Education Adviser Kim Massaro used the money for equipment for the classroom and the gift cards for Best Buddies parties.
But, it’s not just the Best Buddies students that enjoy the game, the peer students working with them enjoy playing with the group of Best Buddies students as well.
“No matter what, when I’m with them I will always have a smile on my face because they will always make me happy,” WHS junior Abbie Christianson said.
Despite everyday challenges, this group of students gets to play for the parents and the student body each year during the Student Impact finals. Massaro and Goudy said that the Best Buddies group loved to be a part of the student body and that they really looked forward to the game each year.