GRIFFITH | "Community Connections" was the theme as Griffith High and Middle School celebrated Disability Awareness Month in March with its sixth annual Wheelchair Basketball Extravaganza featuring the Hammond Rollin Hoosiers.
"This year was very special as we said goodbye to our seniors, Jessica Hicks, Allison Nolan, Jodi Morales and Jackie Morales," said event coordinator Thom Howell, a Griffith teacher, of the wheelchair basketball team.
The event began with a special proclamation proclaiming of Disability Awareness Month in Griffith, made in person by Town Council President Glen Gaby.
At half time, the four Griffith seniors from the Hammond Rollin Hoosiers were recognized with bouquets of yellow roses.
A special presentation was made to the seniors by Sylvia Torbica, United Federal Credit Union Branch manager, who presented a $1,000 check to the seniors, who in turn donated the check to Variety Children's Charities. Vincent Pagone, VCC managing director, and John Bosca, first vice president, were present to receive the donation.
The entire event was emceed by Tom Lounges, Times Media Company columnist and 89.1FM Lakeshore radio host. Entertainment was provided by DJ Tom Ghrist, Horizon Bank, and mascot Rusty the RailCat from the Gary SouthShore RailCats.
This year marks a special milestone as it is the last year the Hammond Rollin Hoosiers will be together.
"Until four years ago, I had no idea what wheelchair basketball was," Howell said. "I learned in a hurry, as I became more and more involved. I believe our students at Griffith have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience, and will always have special memories of the Wheelchair Basketball Extravaganza at Griffith High School."
Howell will make a special presentation to the Town of Griffith at Tuesday's Town Council meeting.