By Madeline Kempf | Staff Writer

Students ready for action during the 2009-2010 game.

This Thursday marks the beginning of the Special Olympics. On May 5th, the Special Education students will participate in track and field events at Blossom Athletic Center.

“It is a softball throw, a javelin throw, and then it is a lot of running events. Also, long jump and high jump and anything else you’d find at a regular track meet,” Special Education Coordinator Teri Wilson said.

There will also be a basketball game pitting the Special Ed students against the faculty. It will be held Tuesday, May 10th here on campus in the Main Gym at 6:30. It is free, but there will be concessions.

“We’ll have the Tejeda Juggling club beforehand, we’ll have one of the Special Olympian athletes playing the marimba for the national anthem, we’ll have the cheerleaders there performing, then, during the halftime, the FRIENDS club will be performing a dance with the Special Olympian athletes,” Wilson said.

It is possible for students to get involved in this event. Many clubs and spirit groups are planning to take part in the festivities alongside the athletes.

“We have Board of Directors, we have NJHS; we would love to have as much support as possible,” Wilson said.”We would love for students to come, because [the Special Olympians] love being cheered on by their peers.”

Many of those who’ve participated are hoping to return to the courts to play again. Chemistry teacher Robert Westhoefer was on the faculty team last year and had a blast.

“I enjoyed it,” he said. “It was great fun. The kids were great, the teachers were great; it was an overall good time.”

Although facing scheduling conflicts, he’s still hoping to sneak away for the event; exhibiting a sheer willingness that should encourage students to come out and show their support.

“Currently, it’s on a Tuesday, and on Tuesdays I have grad school classes in the evening. But if I can get out of that class without any kind of punishment, then I’m gonna do it,” Westhoefer said.

For teachers still interested in signing up to play for the faculty team, there is still time left.

“An email was sent out asking for volunteers, and our coordinator here is doing a really great job about trying to get volunteers,” Westhoefer said. “It’s usually the same group of people that tend to play in the Seniors vs. Faculty game.”

Now spectators and students can not only look forward to a great match, but also to seeing many of the same teachers return to face off against the Special Olympians. Although the Faculty  currently holds the title in the Seniors vs. Faculty series, the Special Education students are the reigning champions in the history of their annual tournament. Either way, it’s a given that a good time will be had by all.

“Just go- it’s a great time,” Westhoefer said. “It’s like any other sport. You get to watch your teachers act like goofballs; it’s just a good time to get together.”

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About The Author

Madeline Kempf is a junior at Johnson High School. This is her second year as a staff writer for The Pride. She spends her social life spinning with the CTJ Colorguard and Winterguard, and smiles way too much. She's always got a cross on her necklace and should probably be doing the next APUSH chapter review.

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