Students at North Delta Secondary are honouring the memory of late Huskies basketball captain Brandon Bassi by continuing his legacy and taking Grade 7s from nearby elementary schools under their wings to help them reach their full potential.
Brandon Bassi was an outstanding 2018 NDSS graduate who passed away tragically in a car accident in May 2019. He was admired by many both at the school and in the local community for his belief in cultivating a positive community and standing up for those who may have felt like an underdog.
In addition to being a leader on the soccer pitch and on the basketball court, Bassi cared for and uplifted the spirit of everyone around him. He was known to take younger students under his wing when they experienced challenges at school. His tragic passing was an unimaginable loss for his family and for those who knew him in the school and community.
Carrying forward Brandon’s spirit of mentorship, North Delta Secondary’s BAM (Brandon’s All-star Mentors) student mentors have been working closely with students from Hellings, McCloskey and Richardson elementary schools since the start of 2020. Through games and small group activities, the mentors offer guidance and a connection to an older student who can support them in their upcoming transition to high school.
In honor of Anti-Bullying Day, the Brandon Bassi Foundation arranged for best-selling author, entrepreneur and former professional football player Richie Contartesi to visit NDSS on Thursday, Feb. 27 to speak to the students and Grade 7s from Hellings, Jarvis, McCloskey and Richardson.
In his talk, Contartesi said he had always dreamed of becoming a professional football player, but faced many obstacles early on in his life. Through self-awareness he overcame the personal barriers that were once hindering his success.
One day, he began writing his goals down and stayed loyal to them every day. This simple change in his life sparked the beginning of his future. Contartesi optimistically entered university in hopes of becoming a football player, only to be told that we would not be able to play in the games. With hard work and resilience, Contartesi earned a full Division 1 football scholarship to the University of Mississippi and became a starter at “Ole Miss,” eventually going on to play arena football professionally.
Growing from a young boy who once considered taking his own life into a young man who played collegiate and professional football, Contartesi’s story of courage and perseverance is one that resonated with many students. Using himself as an example, he encouraged students to not lose hope, and left many students feeling motivated to reach their full potential.
Shortly after the assembly, the BAM student mentors had the opportunity to meet with Contartesi as a small group and engage in meaningful discussions about taking the initiative and how to implement leadership in their daily lives. From learning how to build positive relationships to understanding how to engage younger mentees, the student leaders took away valuable knowledge from this session about becoming a positive role model for children in the North Delta community.
Like Bassi, Contartesi strongly values change in the community, and that stems from having integrity and being a role model. Bassi was a role model to many as he had numerous athletic and academic successes, all while staying down-to-earth and treating everyone as an equal.
In an effort to continue Bassi’s legacy, Contartesi conveyed to the students that instead of bringing others down, they should aim to lift one another up. From learning how to overcome barriers, to learning how to stand up for themselves and others, the students left the assembly feeling touched by Contartesi’s impactful words and motivated to keep Bassi’s legacy alive.
Tavneet Jandu is a Grade 10 student at North Delta Secondary School.