Green Wave rolls in

The Delbarton basketball team and Matheny staff members. In front, from left, Matheny students Shane Szott, Jamil Jones and James Wild.

The Delbarton Green Wave basketball team came to Matheny on December 22 for its annual visit, which included a variety of basketball contests, to the delight of Matheny students and patients. This is an event eagerly anticipated every year, and the 2014 edition did not disappoint.

The Delbarton players took part in several skill competitions with Matheny staff members and helped students and patients compete in adapted versions of the sport. They also tossed Delbarton T-shirts into the seats, arena-style.

Sports are a major activity at Matheny. Students and adults participate in a variety of adapted sports, compete in Special Olympics and often attend high school, college and professional games. The Delbarton School is an independent Roman Catholic learning center in Morristown, NJ, for young men in grades 7–12.

Healthy hoops

Teaching assistant Glenn Wey and student Shane Szott.

In what has become an annual tradition, Matheny closed off its front parking lot on Friday, June 20, and converted it into several adapted basketball courts so Matheny students could compete in games designed to raise money for the American Heart Association as part of the AHA’s Hoops for Heart program. The idea was to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease among women and to encourage women to reduce their risks. The day was a success, as $370 was raised from Matheny staff members, friends and families.

Matheny’s adapted physical education program promotes fitness by modifying traditional sports such as basketball to encourage students to create their own independent movements. In addition to basketball, adapted sports include soccer, bowling, football and many others.

Lori Bertoline, regional director, youth market, American Heart Association, standing second from right, visited Matheny to thank everyone for their support and to receive the funds raised through Hoops for Heart. Also standing, from left, Matheny School curriculum supervisor Jim Hintenach, speech-language pathologist Emily Teed and physical therapy aide Meghan Hoskins. Front row, from left, Matheny students Sara Hoffman, Vraj Desai and Mary Rita Tortorello.

True teammates

Shane, left, and Josh Szott.

The students and patients at Matheny look forward to the annual visit by the varsity basketball team of the Delbarton School, an independent Roman Catholic learning center in Morristown for young men in grades 7–12. But this year brought a special twist. Delbarton basketball player Josh Szott was able to compete along with his brother Shane, a student at Matheny. Josh and Shane are the sons of David and Andrea Szott of Morristown, NJ.

The physical education and recreation therapy departments at Matheny created an assortment of basketball games designed to level the playing field, and the Delbarton players either competed against the Matheny players or helped them compete against each other. They also tossed T-shirts into the audience in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center and displayed some of the skills they use against their regular opponents.

The event is always a huge success and, besides being fun, helps the Matheny students and patients improve their physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being.

Delbarton player Drew Douglas with Matheny student Vraj Desai.

Hoops for Heart

Matheny student Aaron Turovlin and physical therapist Jessica Korab.

The front parking lot at Matheny was closed off and transformed into several basketball courts on Friday, April 26, as Matheny School students participated in adapted basketball games as part of a “March Madness”-type tournament to raise money for the American Heart Association.

The tournament was Matheny’s participation in the AHA’s Hoops for Heart program, designed to bring students together for a good cause. On the same day, throughout Matheny, employees were encouraged to wear red and donate $5 to help the AHA raise women’s awareness of cardiovascular disease and empower women to reduce their risks. Families and friends of Matheny students were asked to send checks to Matheny, made out to The American Heart Association.

From left, Sean Murphy, Matheny School principal; Sean Bielefeldt, Matheny director of recreation therapy; Daeon Troutman, Matheny student; Dawn Williams, Matheny teacher; Lori Bertoline, regional director, youth market, American Heart Assn.; Jim Hintenach, Matheny elementary supervisor, adapted physical education; and Kevin Long, Matheny student.


Holiday hoops

Somerset County Vo-Tech basketball player Devon Gardner and Matheny student Yasin Reddick.

Ahmed Mackey, coach of the Somerset Vo-Tech Jaguars, told the Courier News he wanted his players to see that life is about more than just basketball. So he had his team organize a toy drive and delivered toys to Matheny on Christmas Day.

The team arrived Christmas morning, bringing several hefty bags of toys and games. According to Janice Kriegman, Matheny development officer, who was at Matheny that day, “the boys seemed to instinctively know how to interact with each resident. I was touched by how natural and caring they were. They had just the right touch.”

There are plans for some Matheny students and patients to attend a future Jaguars game. In the meantime, they won’t soon forget the special visit on Christmas Day. And some of the players hinted that they might be back on Valentine’s Day.

Matheny student Richard Kozlik with assistant coaches Mike Remeta, center, and Erik Bowers.


Team spirit

Bryce Curnin, left, and Ryan Murphy of Mendham, NJ, with Matheny student Catherine Aragona.

“It was a great experience for the whole team, and we all really appreciated the opportunity to help out.” That’s Bryce Curnin, a member of the Delbarton School varsity basketball team and a resident of Basking Ridge, NJ, who spoke on behalf of all of his teammates who made their annual visit to Matheny to participate in adapted basketball contests with Matheny students and patients.

Physical education instructor Jim Hintenach and recreation therapy director Sean Bielefeldt created a variety of basketball games designed to level the playing field, and, as always, the event resulted in an hour packed with fun and camaraderie in an arena-type atmosphere. The Delbarton players finished off the morning by tossing t-shirts into the audience, similar to what is often done at NBA games.

“It was very humbling to see the students at Matheny,” added Curnin. “I hope it meant as much to them as it did to us.” Delbarton is an independent Roman Catholic learning center in Morristown, NJ, for young men, grades 7-12.

The Delbarton basketball team cheers on adult patient Jason Weiner, who sunk several baskets.


An ‘awesome’ experience

FHCD student Cece Gulbrandsen plays adapted basketball.

“I thought this was awesome!” That’s how one fourth grader at the Far Hills Country Day School described the recent visit by Matheny students and staff to the phys ed class at the independent day school in Far Hills, NJ. The students played adapted basketball, rode in both manual and power wheelchairs and tried out special scooters.

It was part of a gym class that included seven students from Matheny along with therapists and teachers. The objective of the program is to encourage interaction between the two groups of students, enabling them to compete in sports as peers.

During a question-and-answer session following the class, the FHCDS students disagreed about which activity was most difficult. One student said, “The electric [power] wheelchair was hardest for me because I couldn’t figure out how to use the joystick.” But other students felt the adapted version of basketball was trickier.

FHCD students Ivan Scotto, left, and Peter Gajewski, right, with Matheny student Niara Holmes.