On Sunday, November 5, The Governor’s Academy hosted its 30thannual Massachusetts Special Olympics fall soccer tournament on its campus. More than 800 athletes and over 500 volunteers from Governor's as well as the Landmark School and other local communities participated in the event. The athletes, who gather to compete in a series of round-robin soccer matches, represented 64 teams from across the state.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Massachusetts Special Olympics games which further added to the festive spirit of the day.
Students from The Governor’s Academy are responsible for arranging the opening ceremonies, registering athletes, running “Olympic Town,” organizing soccer skills and drills, and preparing lunches for the athletes.
Highlights of the day this year included inspirational notes that Governor’s students wrote for the athletes, and tucked into their lunches, and a Governor's pep band which played throughout the opening ceremony and had all the athletes dancing and high-fiving the fans as they paraded by the cheering crowds.
Each year, English faculty member Anna Finch organizes the program with two senior student co-directors. Former faculty members Patty Crowe and Susan Oleszko, and current faculty member Maud Hamovit preceded Ms. Finch as the faculty advisors to Special Olympics.
This year’s co-directors were Lauren Hayes ’18 and Kaitlyn Alimenti ’18. For Lauren, the tournament is personal. "My close family friend died of Downs Syndrome a few years ago. He was really into sports and I know he would love this event.”
Kaitlyn called the annual event one of her favorite days of the year. “The best part is during the awards ceremonies when the athletes' faces light up when they receive their medals. It makes all the work worth it and more."
Many Governor’s students and community members call the day one of their favorite days of the year. Ms. Finch, faculty advisor said, “Special Olympics is a part of my job that I truly love. Year after year I get to work intensively with wonderful students and a great team from Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA,) and I have the privilege of helping to coordinate an event that is one of the highlights of the year for more than 800 athletes and their families. The joy the athletes express before, during, and after their competition is something I reflect on all year long. And I also love being part of an international movement that makes life better for millions of people around the globe."