Gateway, Sunrise students score more than just points
Sam Parkin’s greatest day at school had nothing to do with the classroom or dismissal, and everything to do with heart and teamwork.
Sam, 17, of East Deer was one of several students at Sunrise School in Monroeville to compete against Gateway High School students in a basketball game earlier this month.
Sunrise, an Allegheny Intermediate Unit school for students with special needs, hosted the game, and the gym was packed with students and staffers from both schools.
Sunrise middle and high school-aged students defeated Gateway basketball players in a mixed game, with boys and girls playing on one team for each school.
Sam played guard and nailed two three-point shots. Sunrise won 75-55.
“It was a great game,” Sam said. “The highest score we ever had. (Gateway players) were nice. They were tough, we won. It was good sportsmanship … I like running and jumping and doing my calculations.”
The Sunrise team was coached by teacher Ray Edwards. Gateway Athletic Director Randy Rovesti led the high school players.
“It was a different feel in the gym,” Edwards said. “I think they really enjoyed playing with the Gateway players, and every kid that came out of the game wanted to go right back in. They just really loved playing together. It was a really great game.”
Sunrise also had several cheerleaders who practiced a special cheer for the game.
Katrina Zinn, 13, of New Kensington was on that squad. It was her first year as a cheerleader.
“Let’s go Eagles, let’s go,” she exclaimed. “I love cheerleading.”
Katrina said she loved the pompoms and got a chance to mingle with Gateway cheerleaders.
The Gateway girls formed a pyramid and did flips, much to the crowd’s delight. They also gave Sunrise cheerleaders bags full of Gateway items.
“Our halftime routine, I’m pretty proud of,” said Maria Korn, Sunrise cheerleading coach. “They learned it at the beginning of the school year. We spent a lot of time practicing that routine. They did a great job. Katrina especially brought so much spirit, so much positivity.”
Positivity was a major theme for students both on and off the court.
Senior Nate Roper, Gateway’s center, got the crowd excited with a few dunks.
“It’s good to get a chance to give back to the community, and we’ve gotten a lot through the basketball program,” Roper said. “We’ve learned a lot, and it’s good to be able to pass those things on to other people. It helps to make their day and it’s a good feeling knowing that you’ve done that for somebody.”
Mary Kromka, Gateway senior guard, said the Sunrise students played tough and deserved the win.
“I thought they all played very well,” she said. “They’re all fun to play against and were all good sports. I hope it’s something they can look forward to and something they would want to go out and do.”
Administrators and students from both schools said they hope they can play again next year.
“I took a few underclassmen and women, and they’ve already begged to be on the team for next year,” Rovesti said. “I think that speaks volumes. At different times I had tears in my eyes. It was so wonderful.”
Gateway and Sunrise played each other a few years ago. Gateway School Director Valerie Warning is credited with bringing the game back.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .