Together We’re Champions

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The school came together to show everyone can be a champion if we all come together. Champions together is a partnership between the IHSAA and Special Olympics to bring together special needs and athletes. However, it’s more than a partnership. One of our many leaders of Champions Together Hannah Young said, “It helps others receive the chance to be an athlete like everyone else.” Another leader Isaac Chambers said, “It allows friendships and bonds to form and allows everyone to feel and be included.” So here at Lewis Cass our school does a basketball/ cheerleading clinic to come together. 

On Friday at 1:15ish, the special needs students came to join our basketball athletes in the gym. Here each participant receives the chance to learn how to dribble, how to shoot, and most importantly how to have fun. Isaac Chambers, a senior basketball player, was in charge of this portion of Champions Together. He said, “My favorite memory was the clinic as a whole.” The participants get very excited to be partnered up with an athlete and “ball up” with them. However, the athletes enjoy this just as much. Hannah Young, a senior, says her favorite memory “is spending time with Bracy every clinic and seeing how happy it makes him to spend time with me.” This special bond is something both of them are able to cherish. Overall, the clinic is just a fun time and allows everyone to have the same opportunities to become an athlete. 

However, as the basketball clinic is taking place in one gym, the cheer clinic is happening in the other. The cheer clinic is full of dancing, cheering, and making posters. I organized this portion of Champions Together. As the participants come in to the gym, we play music and have a huge dance party. Their smiles as they dance can light up a room instantly. My favorite part is the dance party because of how much happiness is created. The participants love when we show them the cheers and they begin to follow our lead and join in. It makes for a very fun time and creates a bond between us all. 

Later in the day, the whole school gathered in the gym to watch our Champions Together play a scrimmage and cheer on the sidelines. The crowd went crazy when a basket was made which made the participants smile and feel special. We did the wave a few times and had a blast watching and cheering for the champions together clinic. 

Overall, the success of the clinic influenced the whole school. The athletes, the champions, and the community as a whole were able to be involved with this amazing program making it a special organization. Some of the participants even came back for the home game on Saturday where they were recognized between games. Everyone enjoyed seeing the participants and seeing all our athletes involved in such a neat program. Thank you to everyone who supported our Champions Together, and we hope to get even more involved next year. 

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