Goooooooal! Last Friday’s Special Olympics soccer tournament was a day sure to be remembered by many. Cheers erupted from all sides of the soccer fields while students raced past family, friends and teachers on the sidelines to make that coveted goal for their school team. This tournament marked Rocketship’s second partnership with the Special Olympics.
About 150 soccer players and fans from Mosaic Elementary, Discovery Prep, Los Sueños and Brilliant Minds faced off last Friday at Latino College Prep Academy, including players from Rocketship’s Specialized Inclusion Program (SIP). Many family members and friends came to cheer on the players on the field, the event was very festive with snacks, drills, an opening ceremony and a final award ceremony. Just as the Special Olympics aims to empower and unite athletes with and without disabilities, the SIP model helps students with moderate to severe disabilities learn alongside their general education peers for most of the school day.
This tournament allowed students to train with their school team in the weeks prior to the event, and teams came to the field prepared for some inclusive fun.
“When I was riding the bus, I was feeling so excited to meet other teammates from other Rocketship [schools]. I wanted to wish them good luck. The experience I had was never give up – keep on trying,” said Jossue, a fifth grade participant from Los Sueños who found the day focused on friendship and teamwork. “I passed to all the players and made sure everyone felt good. I felt really excited because I felt like I really helped other people, and that made me feel so proud. I got my whole leg dirty from the mud, but it was worth it.”
After this second Special Olympics tournament which included four schools, the Rocketship Special Olympics planning committee hopes the Special Olympics partnership can expand to include all of the Bay Area schools at some point. The next Special Olympics event will be a basketball tournament in the Spring and it is sure to be a success! Let the games begin!
A special thanks to Hannah Gray, Teresa Leon, Genevieve Thomas and all school coaches for heading up this event. Thank you to all family members, friends and volunteers who showed up to support all of the players and help the event run smoothly.
Emma Brady came to Rocketship in 2012 as a special education teacher to make an impact in the charter school arena. Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, Emma knew she wanted to make a difference in education, so she joined Teach for America and moved to the Bay Area after attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtaining a business degree. Teaching was the change of pace she hoped for. She joined the Rocketship family at Brilliant Minds. Emma is charged to make Rocketship a place that meets the needs of all children. Her passion for special education has led to her to her current role as Associate Director of Integrated Special Education. Emma is deeply inspired by the amazing families, students and co-workers that surround her.