The vibe in the Mill Neck Manor gymnasium was full of high energy as the Deaf Education Center students clapped along to the music playing out of the loudspeaker. Reminiscent of an actual warm up basketball game, the students took turns shooting baskets… blissfully unaware of why they were all gathered together in the gym during the middle of a school day. “Is Santa Claus coming?” one student responded when DEC Superintendent Fran Bogdanoff asked if they had any idea why she had called the gathering. Probably the only thing that could top the idea of a surprise visit from Santa was a surprise visit from the world famous Harlem Globetrotters.
Three members of the Globetrotters entered the gym decked out in head-to-toe matching team gear, and were greeted with loud cheers and applause. Harlem Globetrotters stars Chris “Animal” Hyche, “Zeus” McClurkin and “Hoops” Green presented the team’s T.E.A.M. Up at School program. The Globetrotters created the school assembly with the National Campaign to Stop Violence. The program discourages bullying, cultivates empathy and assures the bullied that they are not alone. T.E.A.M. stands for Talk, Empathy, Ask and Mobilize.
During this special assembly, “Animal” used his knowledge of American Sign Language to communicate with the students, as he is the son of two Deaf parents.
Since their inception in 1926, the original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 120 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. A huge thank you to the Harlem Globetrotters organization, for taking the time to visit our students and giving them an experience they will never forget.