Kicking it at Special Olympics

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Kicking it at Special Olympics

Kerrigan Servati and Sadie Uselton

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Welcomed by cheering high school students, special education students from surrounding areas came to the Van Alstyne football field to participate in the first soccer Special Olympics of the year. These Van Alstyne high school students cheered as participants entered the field and continued cheering till each student had participated in all of their events.

Special Olympics is a sports organization that gives students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete in various sports. Van Alstyne hosted four events this year, including track, soccer, basketball, and bocce ball. Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. By participating in these events, athletes find joy, confidence, and fulfillment – on the field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.

Shianne Lum, a junior at Van Alstyne High School, is one of many high school students who get to help at Special Olympics, this being her third year to participate, She says the reason Special Olympics is so important to her is because “It’s such an amazing opportunity to impact other people’s lives and to create joy for people you normally wouldn’t get the chance to.”

Through these sports, the skills and dignity of the athletes are showcased. Special Olympics also brings together communities to see and take part in the transformative power of sports. The odds that the athletes must overcome each and every day is seen at training events and competitions as the athletes push to beat their personal bests – and exceed them.

Sports are a powerful force that can shift the focus from disability to ability, from isolation to involvement. This concept changes attitudes and changes lives. Instituted in 1968, Special Olympics has been spreading the message that people with intellectual disabilities can, and will, succeed when given the opportunity. And this all happens through the organization of sports. This has certainly been the impact Van Alstyne Special Olympics has had, and will continue to have, on our community.