Opening Minds Through Interaction

One of the hallmarks of the Schools Partnership Program is that it brings together two groups of students who might not acknowledge each other in the halls or even remotely understand each other. But when the students receiving special education services and their general education peers come together on the playing field, something magical happens. The barriers break down and students of all abilities and backgrounds are suddenly partners. Preconceived notions, worries over how to communicate and stigmas fade while having fun comes into focus.

Interaction opens minds – something National Junior Honor Society students at Fertitta Middle School in Las Vegas were quick to describe after they spent a day volunteering at a Special Olympics Nevada Schools Partnership Program event. Just like this blog post with more reflections, we wanted to share the students’ thoughts on what it was like to work with students receiving special education services!

“This was definitely a good and memorable experience. I loved greeting the students and seeing them smile. I really enjoyed this and will remember this for a long time.

In this experience, I learned a lot. At first I thought it wasn’t going to be fun but it actually was. I think volunteering with Special Olympics will help us in the long run and help to know how to interact with people with disabilities.

“Today was filled with smiles, cheerful spirits, and friends. One of the things I loved was when the NJHS students took the oath to sign the banner to ‘Spread the word to end of the word.’ I’m excited to help other students around school participate in this too.”

“This year’s Special Olympics was a very special and great time. I loved seeing all the students’ smiles and how happy they were when they made a basket at my station. Also, it made me very thankful for what I have. This was an amazing experience that I loved so much because it was a great life lesson.”

“Volunteering with Special Olympics was an amazing experience. I learned that everyone can have fun. It was tons of fun to watch and help the students enjoy their day. It also made me realize how fortunate I am to be in great health. In the end my heart was filled with joy!”

The Special Olympics event inspired me to consider a career in adaptive physical education. I loved the experience and hope I will have more experiences similar to it.”

“My experience with Special Olympics was great. I loved to be part of this opportunity and work with the athletes. They were amazing, and I loved playing games with them. It was so fun and I would totally do it again. I had a lot of fun and I think the athletes did too. It was just a great opportunity.

“It was a great experience for me. I loved watching the students play games and have fun. To see them smile and laugh, it just made my day. It made me realize how lucky and fortunate I am. Those students have some big hearts. I really enjoyed participating in the Special Olympics.”

“Participating in Special Olympics makes me feel proud of myself. When I came to the gym in the morning, I didn’t know what was going to happen so I was kind of worried. When I got assigned to work with one of the students, I got so into it that I didn’t realize how fast time went. From this experience, I learned how much I like to work with kids. I really liked it.”

Great work, Fertitta Middle School! To see more testimonials about the importance of having Special Olympics in the classroom, please click here.


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