Carlson High School’s basketball teams hosted a series of exhibition games with athletes from Jo Brighton Skills Center in Wyandotte on Saturday.
The event, which included six 20-minute games, one for each of Jo Brighton’s six teams, was fully funded by donations from Carlson groups like student council and the athletic boosters, as well as the families of students involved.
The back of the T-shirts provided to the athletes by MAX JOY read, “Sometimes the difference between ordinary and extra ordinary is a little extra”.
It was clear more than a little extra made this event extraordinary. Carlson’s little extra has a name: student and girls basketball player Samantha Camilleri. If it wasn’t for Samantha’s big idea and even bigger heart, the aptly titled “Shooting with the Stars” games would never have happened.
When asked about her inspiration, Samantha recalls listening to a friend’s story about a similar experience she participated in at another local school.
“I just knew I wanted to find a way for Carlson to do this too,” Samantha said. “That’s when I went to Mr. Raymond.”Varsity basketball coach Rob Raymond was already concocting a similar plan and following his interaction with Samantha, it became the perfect storm. Jo Brighton was contacted to determine whether or not they would be interested. Maggie Gibson, Special Olympics coordinator and Jo Brighton bakery instructor, jumped at the chance to be a part of it.
“We were so excited to be a part of this,” Gibson said. “I knew our athletes would have a great time and make new friends.”