The “Choose Kind” movement here at “The Grove” has been huge for our faculty, staff, and students…in the classroom, in the hallways, and even in athletics.
Recently, our coaches, teachers, staff members, and the 7th-grade basketball players devised a plan to make one of our life skill student’s, Justus Flanigan, 12th birthday special. Little did Justus know, he would be experiencing the chance of his life playing in a basketball game beside his brother, K’Len Flanigan. Coach Zoucha, the 7th-grade boy’s basketball coach, put the entire surprise together by soliciting the help of others to pull the huge surprise off. After Coach Zoucha contacted Justus’ mother, Kiera Jones, the plan was executed.
Coach Zoucha stated that he just wanted to make Justus’ birthday special because every day when he sees him he always has a smile on his face and has his hand up giving everyone he passes a high five. “What better way to put a smile on his face than to make him as a part of the basketball team for a day,” Coach Zoucha exclaimed. Justus was able to be a part of the boy’s basketball team, put on a uniform, get playing time, and he even scored a shot after the second try in which the crowd went WILD!
Although Mrs. Jones was nervous about how Justus would do with a huge crowd, she was very proud of his courage of getting out there to play. She stated that he loves to play ball at home with his brothers; however, this was his first time experiencing playing sports on an actual team. “Even though they’re different, you know, treat them the same, or just be kind, a kind gesture like this goes a long way,” said Mrs. Jones. She said that the staff has made such a positive impact in Justus’ life since he’s been here at the middle school this year. Mrs. Jones expressed in a joyful manner, “this is a memory that my family will cherish forever!”
“This game is more than just basketball, we are ONELOWNDES, and we love all of our students,” Coach Zoucha said.
At Pine Grove, we each strive to be champions. Rita Pierson states, “Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be.” At The Grove, we are ALL champions for our students!