Special Olympians score big time at Sharyland High School

Students from IDEA Mission Academy and College Preparatory and IDEA San Juan College Preparatory competed in the Special Olympics Basketball Competition this past weekend.  Read more about the event in the article from The Monitor below.

By Mark Moreno 

MISSION - The motto for the Special Olympics of Texas is “Let me win but if I cannot win let me brave in the attempt.” That motto was in full swing Saturday at Sharyland Pioneer High School.

Crowds gathered for a second year at Sharyland Pioneer High School Gymnasium for another year of the Special Olympics Texas Basketball Competition. The competition gathered more than 500 participants and 21 delegates from all across the Rio Grande Valley. Delegations included school districts and special need programs.

Special Olympics began in the 1960s with Eunice Kennedy Shiver. Shiver noticed how individuals treated people with intellectual disabilities as unfair and took action for the children to learn what sports they could do and not focus on what they could not do.

Reveriano (Rev) Hernandez, founder and coach, who began the Special Olympics for Sharyland Independent School District almost 20 years ago, said that the event is a family thing and his passion.

“They look forward to the competition as the other kids look forward to football.” Hernandez said. “They like to compete to win like regular kids.”

The basketball competition was divided amongst age groups ranging from 8 years old to 30 years and older. After each game, they all received medals and for the late arrivals or missed heats, they receive a participation ribbon.

Samantha Vasquez, 14, a student from Mission IDEA joined the Special Olympics team almost two years ago in middle school.

“It feels exciting being with classmates and meeting new friends each year.” Samantha Vasquez said.

Her mother, Cynthia Vasquez likes that Samantha joined the team because she is active and socially involved.

“The teachers always think that you could do more than you’re capable of doing,” Cynthia Vasquez said.

The competition began with the opening ceremony and a parade of athletes. Coaches teamed up the best players and the activities included a 10-meter dribble, spot shots of 8 and 10 feet and spot shots with speed dribble.

Volunteers were on hand from UTRGV, STC and students from Pioneer High School to assist with scoring and giving out the awards. 

The Special Olympics gives opportunities to develop physical fitness, experience joy and participate in sharing and improving skills. The organization holds sporting events year-round for children and adults and for almost 50 years, the organization has been changing lives and improving behaviors and attitudes.

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