Wearing the No. 1 jersey and driving his electric wheelchair, 18-year-old Forest Walton led the Performance Learning Center Penguins onto the basketball court.“I’m excited!” he said, leaning back, then forward. Walton’s team was preparing to play basketball against Team Five-0 to raise money for the Cabarrus County Schools’ Performance Learning Center. He had told his teammates they had better win, because “… I’ll lead out the winning team, and I don’t want it to be (Team Five-0),” said Walton, who has muscular dystrophy.The PLC is a nontraditional magnet high school for students in 10th through 12th grades who aren’t successful in traditional schools. The courses are online, and the teachers act as facilitators for the students as they learn at their own pace.The Cabarrus County Schools partnered with Communities In Schools of Cabarrus County to help PLC students achieve the credits required to graduate and to help them prepare for adult life. Communities in Schools arranges for mentors, job shadowing and job internships for the students.The PLC is on the J.N. Fries STEM Magnet Middle School campus. School Resource Officer Rick Smith came up with the idea for a charity basketball game to raise money and awareness for the school. “I saw this as an opportunity to raise money for the kids and to help out, so that they can have the extracurricular activities that other high school students get to enjoy,” Smith said.“I also think the positive interaction between the students and the police will help to build good relationships in the community.”Smith recruited resource officers from other nearby schools and formed Team Five-0, whose name refers to the ages of team members – 50 or older. Five-0 is also slang for police.Facing the 17- to 19-year-old students – along with the school’s exceptional children’s liaison, Terrel Butts – the Five-0s didn’t back down or give up the lane.Penguins player Tavhres Cruise grabbed the opening jump ball away from the Five-0s’ Gavon Clark, setting the tone for the game. Some players made outside shots without challenge, but players battled under the basket as teams do. The score remained close through the first quarter, but the younger players started to pull away in the second and third quarters, building a 12-point lead.The Five-0s had pulled within 9 points when the final buzzer sounded. Final score: Penguins 65, Five-0s 56. More than 80 people attended, raising $550 for the school. The Team Five-0s, unaccustomed to losing, have already started rumblings of a rematch.
Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
Concord police, Performance Learning Center students play hoops to raise money for magnet school
To learn more: For more information on the Performance Learning Center, visit www.cabarrus.k12.nc.us/Domain/47.
Marty Price is a freelance photographer and writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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