Star power

Clockwise, from top left: FHCDS students Julia DeSantis and Alicia Mirchandani; Matheny student Shane Szott; and FHCS students Pito Walton, Anna Fox and Frankie Walls.

The Upper School Musical at Far Hills Country Day School this year was Mulan Jr., the stage adaptation of the Disney film, Mulan, the story of a courageous young girl in ancient China. Prior to presenting the play on March 5 and 6, the cast visited Matheny and previewed some of the highlights for our students and patients.

The children’s dining room at Matheny was packed for the production, and the students enjoyed a brief visit after the performance. Far Hills is a pre-K thru eighth grade independent school in Far Hills, NJ. Many of its students regularly volunteer at Matheny.

A scene from the show.

A real gym!

Matheny student Daeon Troutman enjoys the FHCDS climbing wall.

Matheny’s recent proposal for expansion and renovation, which did not receive approval by the Peapack-Gladstone Land Use Board, had included plans for a therapeutic gymnasium as well as an indoor therapeutic swimming pool. So, when the Far Hills Country Day School offered the use of its gymnasium for a group of Matheny students, it was welcomed enthusiastically.

Matheny students and staff members had previously visited FHCDS to demonstrate various adapted sports activities to a group of fourth graders, and FHCDS students regularly volunteer at Matheny. During the recent gym session, Matheny students were able to participate in sports activities difficult to experience in Matheny’s current recreation room.

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.