DECA honors former WPS student in second Dunk on Darkness game

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Ali Norris

Sophomore Emmett Oswald participates in the pop-a-shot held during half time at the Dunk on Darkness game.

DECA hosted their second Dunk on Darkness basketball game to raise money for “Operation Believe”.
The game is hosted in honor of the Turner family who lost their son Korneel’yus. Before the game, RHS class of 2020 alumni Noah Turner said a few words thanking everyone for coming out and explaining why the cause is important to him.
“This cause is very near and dear to me. We lost my brother, P-Nut as we call him, a few years ago to mental health,” Turner told the crowd.
This year the project was led by two juniors, Tyler Kurdi and Mariah Vargas.
“We did tons of fundraisers for Dunk On Darkness,” DECA President Reese Blackledge said. “We did a miracle minute, raffle baskets, and Pistons tickets.”
The cause of the game resonates with many, including players. N. Turner was on the Wyandotte varsity boys basketball team and played in the first Dunk on Darkness game, held in 2020.
“It feels really good to be able to play for such an important cause. In eighth grade, I lost a really good friend to suicide and it really hurt,” senior varsity center Ethan Breaux said. “Playing for him meant a lot.”
Basketball was the sport chosen for this event because of K. Turner’s love of basketball. Mental health is something that resonates with Breaux because of the loss of Turner, who was a close friend through middle school.
“I want to do everything I can to make sure that kids don’t give up. I want people to know that there is always someone to talk to and it will get better,” Breaux said.
“One of my favorite fundraisers we did was pop-a-shot,” Blackledge said. “I loved seeing everyone get involved and raise money for a great cause in a fun way.”
Pop-a-shot is a fundraiser in which participants donate a dollar to try to make a basket from the three point line; if they make it they receive a two-liter of pop. The Dunk on Darkness game is part of DECA’s You Matter campaign.
“Our campaign strives to bring awareness for mental health and to make sure everyone feels included and loved,” Blackledge said.
In total, DECA raised $2111.74  for “Operation Believe” an organization that supports positive mental health and provides resources for unprivileged families in Wyandotte Public Schools.
“This game is specifically important because it was in memory of Korneel’yus Turner,” Blackledge said. “It’s really important that the Turner family sees how much we loved him and want to pay tribute to him.”
The game exceeded expectations for many DECA members who were involved in the project.
“The event was very successful, Dunk on Darkness isn’t our biggest event but it is still very important,” Blackledge said. “I think everyone had a good time and I think that when you do things for a good cause it’s a win anyway.”