Special Olympians at Wiregrass Ranch

Wiregrass Ranch High School (WRHS) is currently participating in Special Olympics. Special Olympics is an event that allows students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate in athletics. The most recent event was bowling.

Six Wiregrass students placed at the Area Singles bowling competition on September 24th including: 1st place finishers: Kelci Mackay, Byron Ruiz-Hernandez, Jeffrey Powell, 2nd Place: Emily Lutz, Nick jones, and 3rd Place finisher: Emily Bahr. The two teams from the Area team bowling competition on October 10th took both first and second place in their division as well.

When asked what the next level of competition would be for these students, Special Olympics coach, Bonnie Norman explained, “This means that 14 students could potentially represent Pasco County at the State bowling competition Dec 2-3 in Orlando at Boardwalk Bowling. I say ‘potentially’ because it is a lottery system based on allocation spots for the county, coming in first puts them in the drawing to be selected.”

In each event the students were placed in a team or skill competition based on physical ability. From WRHS, 48 students competed in the Special Olympics bowling competitions.

Norman explains her favorite part about the Special Olympics is that it brings together the community.

“I coach Special Olympics because it provides my students the opportunity to compete in athletic events, which they love, and it brings together their families, former teachers and friends as well as our current club members and senior peers that help with our kids,” said Norman.

Norman continued on to express the joy felt by the students being supported by their school.

“They never stop talking about events that have already happened and always look forward to the next one coming up. Their joy is contagious and just to be apart of it is an honor,” said Norman.

Chris Faddoul, Special Olympics president, explains why he joined the club.

“I’ve always enjoyed helping these kids and when I found out about the Special Olympics club, I knew it was the perfect way to bond and get closer with them,”said Faddoul. “They teach me to learn to appreciate everything in life and make the best out of it. They are my role models.”

The next Special Olympics event will be basketball in December. The biggest event of the year is the Summer Games at Wesley Chapel High School on February 24th, 2016. The State competition will be on May 19th and 20th at Disney Wide World of Sports in Orlando.