Basketball stars from Schlagle High School involved in capstone project designed to help community

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- There's a community beyond the basketball court.

This week's FOX4 HyVee Team of the Week said it wants to be of service to its neighbors.

When F.L. Schlagle High School's girls basketball team was summoned into service during the fall, its players went to work immediately.

Schlagle Stallions teammates Ishante Suttington and Tynica Gilmore are among Schlagle teammates who used a school capstone project to help their neighbors. Large groups of students within the school were assigned to help non-profit agencies within their communities.

Gilmore's group aspires to help the school's homeless students. They worked with KCK-based nonprofit Avenue of Life, notifying classmates of resources to provide them with food, clothing and places to stay. Schlagle High School administrators said a significant percentage of students within the school is homeless in some capacity.

"I come from a family where my mom has seven kids," Gilmore, a Schlagle guard-forward, said. "I know it was hard for my mom to provide for all of us, but somehow she made a way, and I know there's other people out there that aren't as fortunate as my family and my mom, so I hope this helps them out."

Suttington, the Stallions' starting shooting guard, and her capstone team took on the dangers of sexual abuse. She and her collaborators worked with Sunflower House to create cartoons and videos to educate kids about perilous predators. and warn them about a crime that some adults aren't comfortable discussing with teenagers.

"There are people who are going through things that have to do with sexual abuse. They don't feel open to talk about it unless they're, like, alone or with someone they can trust," Suttington said.

Mark Western, fifth year coach at Schlagle, said his players pack a generous spirit that he hasn't seen at many schools, and he's proud knowing his players are learning as much about life as they are about basketball.

"It says a lot when a kid who doesn't have much is able to give and give and give. Their time is probably the most valuable thing they can give. They're more than willing," Western told FOX4 on Friday.

There’s spirit at Schlagle High and there’s strength too. The Stallions won seven of their first nine games this season. They’re ranked in the top ten in Kansas 5A and there’s only one senior on the roster, which suggests this program has a chance to be good for at least the next two seasons. FOX4 sees them as champions because they see chances to help others.

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