Friday Night Prime Time 2019


By Alexandria Buchanna

McKInley’s Friday Night Prime Time team celebrates after the game.

By Alexandria Buchanna
McKinley’s Friday Night Prime Time team celebrates after the game.

The Friday Night Prime Time program was created for students with special needs, giving them the opportunity to represent their schools on a basketball team. This allows students who would not be able to play for school’s athletic programs the chance to compete together.

“I loved playing with my team for a second year,” senior player Kahealani Gumataotao said. “[I learned] teamwork is really important. Programs like this [are] really important [for] the community. [It’s] a good experience.”

This is the program’s third year running, and it has expanded to include students and families at eight schools around the island. These teams get the real student-athlete experience and attend multiple practices to prepare for games, and an excited crowd of fans cheering for them while they play.

In this program, the students are helped on the court by peer mentors. These mentors are student-athletes who volunteer to train and play with the team. Friday Night Prime Time allows these students to give back to their school and get a new perspective of the game.

“I enjoyed being a peer mentor because I got to work with [the team],” senior mentor Francis Leasiolagi said. “I learned that people should volunteer to be a peer mentor because these kids are fun to work with.”

The Friday Night Prime Time is an inspirational experience; not only for players and mentors, but for the audience watching as well. For junior Malachi Iaea, it was an eye opening experience to sit in the stands and watch the teams play.

“I think it’s important because it shows that anyone can play a sport despite their [disadvantages],” Iaea said. “My favorite part was hearing the crowd go crazy when a shot was made… getting to play a sports game is something everyone should experience.”

Friday Night Prime Time is an inspirational and motivating experience for all many. Participating in this program is something both players and mentors won’t forget.

“This program is important for schools to have because it opens your eyes,” Leasiolagi said. “I would definitely do it again if I could.”