Dryden Shooting Stars!

Dryden Shooting Stars Shine On And Off The Court In 2023!
Posted on 02/17/2023

February 11th, marked the final session of the Dryden Shooting Stars Rec Program for 2023! These last six weeks have been about building community and teaching the next generation of Dryden basketball players what this sport is all about. Each Saturday, both boys and girls varsity basketball teams prepared to welcome 35 elementary students, grades K-2nd to Dryden High School. Here, the gym is organized into stations where kids are taught different drills, how to work as a team, and rules of the game.


Ava Henry, team captain of the girls varsity basketball team, has been a part of the Shooting Stars Program since she was a kid. Now, as a senior, she has come full circle and gives insight into what makes this experience all worth wild, “I like seeing how interested the kids are, getting better, and knowing that they are going to be playing in my position someday. This program is a really good balance of letting the kids have fun, socializing, and focusing on getting better at the sport.” Not only has this program been beneficial to the little stars, but also the big ones too. Teammate, Kahlen Cornell, says the best part about this program is everyone supporting one another, “I have seen some of the kids come to our games and showing them what it is like to be a part of our team. It is great to know they are supporting us.” 


Bruce Debo, a shooting guard for the boys varsity basketball team, states that going over drills with the kids has made him a better player. He discusses the kind of drills they go over all together, “We go over shooting, dribbling, defense, types of passing and basic rules of how to play. Working on different skills has been helpful for me during practice. I have really enjoyed hanging out with the little kids. They are really fun!” Some of the most significant qualities varsity athletes are learning about during this program are how to be a good role model, leadership, and taking care of one's own community. Shooting guard, Daniel Murphy, understands just that, “Being a role model is important because we are helping build our community and that starts with working with these kids because they are our future.” Small forward, Peter Nydam, has seen what it means to be a part of this program from start to finish, “ I was once a shooting star kid and that is how I got started with basketball. It is meaningful to me now to go back to it. It has been humbling. I came a long way through this program and the kids can do it if they stick with it.”


Coaches Zachary LeViere (boys varsity basketball coach and Dryden 2010 Alum) and Laszlo Engel (girls varsity basketball and boys varsity soccer coach) have been overseeing the program every Saturday. They have designed it in a way that lets their athletes build confidence and go out of their comfort zones. “It is great to see our players go into a role they are uncomfortable with because a lot of life is dealing with things that are uncomfortable and seem scary,” shares LeViere, “...being in charge of 35 children can be a scary thing. But now to rise to that occasion and see them take on leadership roles is amazing.” Dryden Recreation developed Shooting Stars originally to fill a void for students to find activities and sports, which the coaches both agreed is key to the future of athletics at the high school level. Coach Engel expresses that having an environment to develop young is critical and part of that learning is also facing adversity, “You fail to win, you fail to learn something, you fail to make a change. You eventually learn to make that change and overcome it. Our players are learning to improvise, adapt, and then overcome obstacles.” He voiced, “ Learning these skills will help them on the court, in the classroom, college, and whichever job they decide to go do. We make a space that is safe to fail here first because then they can learn to go forward from that.”


Coach LeViere has spent his entire childhood at Dryden from kindergarten to high school. After leaving for some time after graduating in 2010, he made it a point to come back and serve the community that has given so much to him. “One of the things about Dryden is how supportive and stable it is. It is a great place for families to settle down and a great school district to send your kids to.” From Coach Engels perspective, he has seen what it means to be a Lion from student to student athlete and then to coach, “These student athletes are giving back to the community that gave to them. For example, Zach graduated from Dryden and was one of my students. It is the progression about giving back. You get to see the big kids and then you are the big kid. These students practice taking care of their community because eventually they will need to take care of it when they become adults.” 


The Dryden Central School District thanks these players and coaches for their commitment to continuing the Shooting Star Rec Program for years to come. If you would like to sign your child up for the next years program, please visit drydenrec.recdesk.com or call 607-844-8888, Option 4 for more details.