Seventy-three students, staff, and parents volunteered at the Area 18 Northwest Special Olympics Summer Games at Prospect High School on April 27. The Conant Volunteers were the largest volunteer group at the games. They received the honor of carrying out the oversized American flag in the March of Athletes during the opening ceremonies, as well as a nomination for the 2014 Volunteer Recognition & Impact Awards Breakfast.
The group was led by the Senior Survey class co-taught by special education teacher Corey Olson and Social Studies teacher David Moravek. The two teachers recruited students, staff and parents to participate.
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The volunteers staffed two softball throw areas and worked with athletes as they entered the competition area. They staged the various competition heats, assisted athletes with their throws, measured and reported the results, and most importantly cheered the athletes on to greatness. The volunteers were also able to spend time with the athletes and support them in their pursuit of the Special Olympics oath, which is, "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
Some of the most memorable moments of the day happened when senior Jennifer Jacobo threw her arms around the shoulders of one of the athletes to help her after she completed competing. Senior Luis Mena-Rodriguez provided a soothing influence in the "bullpen" helping to calm the nerves of athletes waiting to compete. For senior Mike Delgado, the highlight of the day was carrying the American flag and participating in the March of Athletes.
The Conant Volunteer group began as a class project as a means to complete the Learning through Community Involvement Project at Conant High School. At Conant High School, LCAP encourages Conant seniors to volunteer in community organizations as a means to engage students through service learning and providing service to our community. The Conant staff was inspired to see their students engaging, befriending, and supporting the athletes.
"It was really inspiring to see our kids step outside of their comfort zone and engage the athletes on a personal level," said Courtney Buss, applied technology teacher at Conant High School.
Student leaders in the class, seniors Carlos Mayo and Tekeya Radford, suggested that more students and staff get involved with the event and helped the class set their goal to become the biggest volunteer group of the games. The students then went out into the building asking peers and many of their favorite staff members to join the group for the spring games. Their request was met with great enthusiasm at Conant and word spread quickly to other groups including several members of the Varsity Girls Soccer, a group of underclass Girls Lacrosse players and staff in the Special Education department.
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