DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Hundreds of award-winning central Ohio students were treated to a performance by the Harlem Globetrotters on Tuesday morning.
For nearly a century, no one has demonstrated creativity on the court better than the iconic basketball team, but it’s fostering that creativity in kids off the court that’s helping create the next generation of leaders. “They are extremely excited. I don’t think they can contain themselves,” admitted Pete Kurty, the Glacier Ridge Elementary Principal, as students made their way into the gymnasium at Dublin Jerome High School.
In total, more than 500 students, teachers, and administrators packed into the bleachers for the exclusive show. “We’re just as excited as the kids are,” said Julian ‘Zeus’ McClurkin, the more than decade-long veteran of the Harlem Globetrotter. “We’re going to be putting on just a little taste of what you would see at one of our shows.”
The visit comes after Glacier Ridge Elementary finished as the grand prize winner in the ‘Court of Creativity’ contest. The competition is a nationwide contest hosted by Jersey Mike’s Subs and Campus Multimedia, which encourages students, teachers, or parents to submit photos or videos showcasing their creativity related to the Globetrotters or the sport of basketball.
The submissions could include things like art, a trick shot video, or even incorporating the sport into their favorite school subject. “It’s not just about teaching kids the curriculum, it’s about how to inspire them with their interests, and this was a great opportunity to incorporate something fun, like basketball and the Harlem Globetrotters, into instruction already,” Kurty explains.
The school had two entries finish in the top-ten nationwide, including a submission from a group of third graders combining the basketball skills they learn in physical education with the movement skills they learn in music. “We love to take advantage of opportunities and learn and grow as teachers and educators, so we do that and hopefully inspire lifelong learning in the kids as well,” Kurty adds.
Roughly 7,500 elementary schools across the country were eligible to participate. McClurkin, a Columbus native, was thrilled to be able to perform in his hometown. “Extra special. Any time I see anything in Ohio circled, I’ve got to show up and I’ve got make it happen,” McClurkin urges.
McClurkin encourage students to be themselves, reminding that creativity will create success both on and off the court. “Everybody has something that they do, and we encourage kids to be just as creative [off] the court. We get a chance to be individuals and we want kids to be individuals as well,” says McClurkin.
In addition to Tuesday’s first-hand performance, the students also enjoyed a meet-and-greet with the players afterwards. The school also received a $1,000 cash reward that they say will go towards additional learning opportunities and experiences for the students.