March Madness in Their Own Words

Last week we recapped the basketball competition at Pleasanton Middle School (click here to read!), which was a blast and the excitement of March Madness come early! But these competitions – and the Schools Partnership Program as a whole – are best described by those participating! Here’s what some of those playing or coaching had to say…

Granada High School student-athlete Tasha said her favorite sport to play in the Schools Partnership Program is basketball because her brother Josh also plays basketball. She loves shooting baskets.

Granada High School general education student Justin told me that he was assigned to be an assistant in the special education class but after a couple of days, he loved it and wanted to stay in it for the duration of his high school career.

“[Working with the students taught me] they’re not so different unlike what people say…[I like] being able to be with them because they’re really cool kids.”

As a side note, Granada hosted a dance two weeks ago for students receiving special education services with Justin’s class helping to organize and put on the dance! When asked what Justin would tell his general education peers about volunteering with Special Olympics…

“They should because it’s a new experience. It’s more than just being there to help them…it’s a learning experience for both groups.”

Justin and Tasha

A pair of teachers from Pleasanton Middle School…

  • Heralded the support from their school. The general education PE teachers even got subs for their regularly scheduled classes so they could be there.
    • “All we had to do was train the athletes, which is a joy.”
  • Mentioned how having the Schools Partnership Program in the schools is a great way for parents to see Special Olympics in action
  • Championed the connections the student-athletes build with other students just like them across the schools. The competitions and dances give the students a great chance to be social with the friends they don’t see every day.
  • Shared that the practices and competitions give the student-athletes a reason to be excited after learning to dribble, shoot and pass for months.
  • Pointed out that while their student-athletes are sometimes not passed the ball or included in mainstream PE classes, at these competitions they are thrilled to feel typical, showcase their skills and have a true competition

Pleasanton Middle School eighth graders Taylor and Quinn…

  • Helped make posters, set up and organize teams along with fellow members of their leadership class
  • Served as referees and had a blast
  • Especially enjoyed seeing the student-athletes smile and look happy and satisfied when they made baskets



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