Basketball Senior Night Celebrates Inclusion

It was a celebration of Senior Student Athletes, sharing, and inclusion.

“Senior night” was held February 26 as the Women’s and Men’s basketball teams faced off against Caldwell University to play their last home game as Seniors.

But this wasn’t an ordinary Senior Night. At halftime of the Women’s Game, students from New Beginnings (part of the Gramon Family of Schools), a private Special Education program for students three to 21 with autism and other related disabilities took to center court. While there, they played a little basketball, and performed a drumline and cheerleader routine to the appreciation of the capacity crowd.

New Beginnings’ Students with Felician Faculty and Staff in Gym for Basketball Senior Night


New Beginnings Principal and Felician Special Education Graduate Instructor Michael Farrely said, “Anytime we get the opportunity to have our students generalize something that they do in the school out in the community is a win for us. So, to do their performance and their routines out in a real gym at a University was amazing. We are so thankful to Felician for giving us this opportunity.”

Felician Athletic Director Ben Dinallo, Jr. agrees. “It was wonderful to have that school here with us. It’s really relationship building. If you could have seen the looks on those boys and girls- that’s what it is all about. Some of them might not be in a gym in this kind of environment for a long time.”

The partnership between Felician and the Gramon Family of schools wasn’t a one-time thing because Felician plans to bring both the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams over to Gramon for a clinic. President Anne Prisco said, “This is not a one shot deal. This is a relationship!”

And while the New Beginnings Players weren’t on the court for long, they did manage to make a couple of baskets, and share in a life changing experience at the same time.

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About Felician University

Felician University engages over 2,300 undergraduate, graduate, and adult students through programs in Arts & Sciences, Business, Nursing, and Education. Universal Franciscan values of social justice, compassion, and respect for human dignity serve as an inclusive foundation for transforming the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. Felician University’s education is ranked 3rd best return on investment for private colleges in New Jersey 2018 by the PayScale.com College ROI Report and is ranked #1 safest college campus in the state by niche.com.