Mount Saint Joseph Academy dedicates basketball court to Lenny Burke, an alumni who was tragically injured.
Ceremony and MSJ-Rice scrimmages will take place Nov. 30
RUTLAND–On Monday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m., the MSJ men’s and women’s varsity basketball teams will scrimmage their counterparts from Rice Memorial High School on the new Lenny Burke Court at the Mount. The court will be dedicated during the evening, with remarks by MSJ Principal Sarah Fortier, legendary sportscaster Jack Healey, guest of honor Lenny Burke, and the Most Reverend Christopher Coyne, Bishop of the Diocese of Burlington.
Lenny Burke (MSJ ’81) was tragically injured in an MSJ basketball game in 1979, but his family, led by his mother Emmie, with support from the MSJ community and the Rutland community as a whole, helped him through that difficult time.
The lessons learned about head injury not only helped Lenny but have been shared with the world to help others. Under the direction of Mrs. Burke and Lenny’s brother Kevin Burke (’81), the Lenny Burke Farm and associated properties in Rutland County have become a bright light for those with head injuries from all over the country. This inspirational story has been captured in “The Bend in the Road,” a book by Yvonne Daley.
In December, MSJ organized a wonderful night at the Paramount Theatre in honor of Lenny and his family. Since that time, MSJ alumni and friends have raised well over $20,000 to fund a Burke family scholarship at MSJ and to refinish the basketball court and name it after Lenny.
At the same time, a bond has been formed between current MSJ students and Lenny Burke. Junior Dylan Potter stated, “I feel honored to be able to wear the same number as [Lenny] and to wear that number on a court dedicated to him.” Junior Jenna Eaton explained, “I can’t wait to play on the Lenny Burke Court because it will be like each game we play is to honor and remember him.” Senior Barryn Shark wrote, “New year, New court, MORE BUCKETS #AllForLenny.”
MSJ has a proud basketball tradition. The Mount has won state basketball championships with either its men’s or its women’s teams in each of the last four decades. This decade it has already won two basketball state titles: the women’s team won the Division IV State Championship last year, while the men’s team won the Division II State Championship in 2012. The women’s basketball team will also be raising its state championship banner during the Nov. 30 event. There will be no charge to attend the festivities on Nov. 30. There will be a 50/50 drawing to support the Burke Family Scholarship. Copies of “The Bend in the Road” will also be available for purchase. For more information, visit www.msjvermont.org.