Giving Thanks for New Friends

Thanksgiving may still be a couple weeks away but Thursday felt like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Dublin High School played host to middle schools and high schools from the Tri-Valley area on Thursday for the second annual soccer competition.

There’s something extra spectacular about watching the Parade of Student-Athletes (that’s when all the schools walk in ceremonially before the competition gets underway) when they’re a little older. As compared to the elementary school student-athletes who are a little overwhelmed, the middle school and high school student-athletes genuinely soak it all in.

“The student-athletes see themselves in the spotlight”

• Many of them waved as if they were Duchess Kate Middleton and Prince William on their wedding day
• One classroom was so excited for the competition they had a three-week countdown to the day
• The athlete who said the Special Olympics Athlete Oath before the games got underway absolutely lit up when his teacher told him he’d been chosen to say the oath
• Another athlete who participated in the Torch Run (that’s when the law enforcement Flame of Hope is carried in before the games) was so excited he wanted his teacher to text his mom to make sure she knew

At Thursday’s soccer event, the student-athletes got to compete against teams at other schools, which is one of the student-athletes’ favorite parts. Getting to interact with other special education students with sports as the vehicle is such a wonderful part of the Schools Partnership Program. Being with other people their age who also have intellectual disabilities is a unique facet of the program that allows the student-athletes to meet people who are just like them. They’re no longer different or disabled. They’re just like everyone else out there on the field – and they get to make new friends to boot!

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Thanks for another great day, Dublin High and the Tri-Valley schools!

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