Lights, camera, Lut-Knick

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Lights, camera, Lut-Knick

Emily Shi, Staff Writer

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Nshera Tutu (11) caught a glimpse of New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett strolling through Lutnick Hall and immediately decided that she had to try and meet him. The independent film company named “Love, Homestead” filmed a documentary interview with Barrett and his father Rowan Barrett at the school’s fitness center and gym to advertise a financial literacy program at the Royal Canadian Bank this Monday afternoon.

The commercial director’s son graduated from the school, and chose to use the school after visiting and being impressed by the newly renovated facilities, Director of Athletics Robert Annunziata said.

The director first contacted Coach Matthew Russo, who forwarded the email to Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly, who then passed it on to the gym staff to help organize the event, Annunziata said.

The administration decided to allow the filming company to utilize the school’s facilities free of charge due to the director’s connection with the school.

Although planning had begun weeks before, the event was kept a secret. Students did not find out until information began to spread on Monday afternoon. After finding out, a group of eight students decided to stay at the school to try and meet Barrett.

Zoe Swift (11), Captain of the Girls Varsity Volleyball team, found out about the event with Arora on the way to an away game at The Nightingale Bamford School, she said.

“A bunch of people started crying out of excitement, and we got to the game and decided to try and finish the game in three sets so we could get back to school and meet RJ,” Arora said.

After winning the game, members of the team stayed around the school and waited until around 8:30 to watch the event unfold and potentially meet Barrett.

“There wasn’t really a question of whether or not we should stay, we just knew we were going to because many of us were such big fans,” Swift said.

Rosy Arora (11) decided to stay due to her love of Duke Basketball, Barrett’s college team, and Barrett himself, she said.

“RJ Barrett was the first in his class rankings going into college, so I followed him from his high school basketball career at Montverde Academy until where he is now.”

Since Barrett was busy with filming for most of the time, the students who stayed mainly waited in Lutnick Hall while doing homework.

Right when Zoe Swift (11) settled into her car to leave the school at 8:30 PM, she saw Barrett’s manager whispering before he ran out to meet the group, she said.“It felt like a mosh pit, we all started screaming and yelling and jumping before finally settling down for the photo and talking a bit.”

“He was like ‘I can’t believe you guys stayed so late, that’s crazy,’” Arora said. “That just showed how nice and humble he was and made meeting him even more special.” 

“You see famous athletes all the time in the media and think that they’re so different or so much older, but RJ Barrett is only three years older than us and you could tell through our interactions,” Swift said. “It was so nice to meet him because he was basically a peer but also such a major role model.”