The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

Special olympics kicks off with soccer

Special Olympics Coaches
The Atoms Special Olympics team poses for a group photo after a soccer tournament at Marshall High School

The Atoms Special Olympics team kicked off thier most exciting year to date, starting off with Soccer. The Atoms travel to different high schools in the area and play a soccer match. The Atoms have found some great sucess with much improvement in each game when it comes to passing, dribbling down the field and scoring.

 The Special Olympics program is a global organization that allows individuals with special needs and disabilities compete in athletics.

 Team sponsor and Headcoach Janan Hawthorn added, “At Annandale we compete against other schools in sports such as soccer, basketball, and track/field.” 

The Atoms Special Olympics team originally started 8 years ago by now Dean of Students, Jae Lee.

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 “I wanted our students with disabilities in our Cat B program to have an opportunity just like any other student to engage in sports” said Lee. 

When on the field, the athletes are encouraged to dribble the ball down the field, work on their passing and score a goal against the oposing team.

 “I like to pass it to my friends and I like to be friendly to people in the game.” said junior Billy Boateng. 

As the team competes and practices throughout the season, they develop a strong connection with peer helpers and coaches. 

Sophomore Chloe Arsiananta added “having fun and being with the coaches.”

The special olympics team heavily relies on help from peer helpers and the club executive board. The team’s executive board is run by club president and junior, Sage Nagle. 

Nagle Joined the club during her freshman year, and has been helping the program since.

 Nagle added, “I was inspired by the team. I saw how little recognition we were getting and I wanted our athletes to get the attention they deserve” 

Over the past few years, the Special Olympics team has developed so well with the increase of players and peer helpers.

 “we went from not having enough peer helpers to pair with our athletes to having enough to have 3 helpers with one athlete” added Nagle. 

Development in the team has helped fuel the accomplishments and movement being pushed by the Special Olympics team at AHS.

Student volunteers come to special olympics events and are paired up with a athlete. 

Sophomore Julia Albertani added, “I have a family friend who’s non-verbal and has a disability so I thought it’d be cool to get to know other kids like him.” 

Peer helpers come to events with the athletes and help encourage them to pass, dribble and shoot, while also moving them on the field. 

“ you tell them what a great job they’re doing, and how everyone is cheering them on” said Albertani. 

Being a peer helper for the Special Olympics team requires lots of patience and the ability to adjust on the fly. 

Senior Marc Akl added, “some athletes may work at a different pace then others, so we need to be able to adapt to everyone.”

Some students were moved by the accomplishments of the team and inspired to join. 

Sophomore Lizzie Gronberg added “I realized that special Olympics does a lot of really cool things that I wanted to be a part of like tournaments and spreading awareness of the program.”

The special Olympics team has not only grown at AHS, but has also reached out to other schools in the area.

 Hawthorn added “ We are now reaching out to other schools to help build the program and have inclusive sports where they haven’t yet had the chance to blossom.”

The Annandale community can get involved and support the Special Olympics team by supporting the team at their tournaments, and looking forward to the upcoming basketball game Febuary 14th. 

If you are interested in supporting the Special Olympics team, you can reach out to Coach Hawthorn or club President Sage Nagle. You can also support the team by following them on instrgram @atoms_specialolympics and look out for the team store to come soon! 

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About the Contributor
Leo Marzigliano
Leo Marzigliano, Co-Sports Editor
Junior Leo Marzigliano is a first year writer for the A Blast. He enjoys watching sports like football and baseball. This will be his 3rd season on the varsity tennis for Annandale High School. Outside of school, Leo enjoys being outdoors camping, playing backyard football or training for tennis.

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