WHS community hosts Special Olympics
Wintertime in Weston usually signifies the arrival of the Special Olympics at WHS. On Sunday, January 27, the Class of 2020 came together to host the annual Special Olympics qualifying basketball tournament for adults and children with disabilities.
Having participated in the event since freshman year, junior class vice president Ben Guzovsky explained the structure of the tournament.
“The event itself is a basketball tournament for people with cognitive disabilities. [This year,] there were a variety of divisions, from teams playing basketball at a similar level to what our high school team would [play], to teams just learning the game and having fun,” Guzovsky said. “The teams that played at Weston were trying to qualify for the upcoming state tournament.”
By the end of the day, several different teams that had competed at the event had qualified for the next round. Freshman Tally Zeller commented on her team’s success in the tournament.
“[My] team won both of their games, and advanced to the next round of the competition,” Zeller said. “We were doing a lot of cheering at the event.”
The Class of 2020 had a significant role in organizing the tournament. Junior class president Christina Binney commented on the responsibilities she had as one of the student organizers for the event.
“I was responsible for communicating with students, volunteers, and committee members about their responsibilities and helping them figure out what they needed to do for the event. In addition, I had to create a schedule for my own committee, assigning first aid volunteers and referees to work each game,” Binney said.
In addition to student involvement, WHS faculty were also invested in the success of the event. History teacher and junior class advisor Katherine Tucker commented on the challenges of planning the event.
“It is always difficult to plan for Special Olympics simply because [the planning] takes place over so many months in advance to the actual event,” Tucker said.
For this year, a last-minute date change caused complications in the planning process.
“The date change required a lot of students, faculty, and others throughout the community to adjust, so I really appreciated the flexibility of the community to help make it all happen,” Tucker said.
Despite the large amount of work that was involved, history teacher and junior class advisor Moncrieff Cochran expressed his appreciation of the opportunity to give back to the community.
“Special Olympics has been one of, if not my favorite event because it’s just a joy to watch these athletes compete,” Cochran said. “To see how much fun they have in this event, along with the students and all of the volunteers involved, means a lot to me. It’s just one of the most fulfilling events that I’ve ever been involved in.”
Additionally, Binney also reflected on the personal significance Special Olympics holds for her.
“Special Olympics is a great chance for us to give back to our community and surrounding communities and it allows us to connect with people we may otherwise not have a chance to, and hopefully, make lasting impacts with the athletes,” Binney said.