On Sunday, November 4, for the 31st time, The Governor’s Academy hosted the Massachusetts Special Olympics Fall Soccer Tournament on its campus. 360 Governor’s students, faculty, and staff volunteered at the tournament this year. The annual tradition is considered a highlight of the year to the Governor’s community.
On a windy fall day, more than 900 athletes, representing 68 teams from across the state, gathered to compete in a series of round-robin soccer matches. As hosts of the event, Governor’s students and volunteers arranged the opening ceremonies, ran "Olympic Town," organized soccer skills and drills, registered athletes, fed participants, and oversaw the competitions.
Julia Russolillo '19 and Alex DiBlasi '19 were this year’s student co-directors, joining faculty advisor Anna Finch in planning this year's event.
The day began with the opening ceremony which included a huge presence from law enforcement: a motorcade featuring more than ten police and state trooper vehicles to kick off the ceremony and lead the torch lighting as well as a helicopter flyover. Student co-directors Alex '19 and Julia '19 presented Mary Beth McMahon, President and CEO of Special Olympics MA, with a citation honoring Special Olympics Massachusetts from Governor Baker's office. To watch a clip of the parade of athletes, please click here.
Co-director Julia’s '19 family has been involved in the Special Olympics for years, which is why she applied to become a student co-director for the tournament. She said, "Yesterday’s successful event was exciting and rewarding for everyone that volunteered their time but more importantly for the athletes. My favorite part of the day was at the end of competition, so many athletes came up to my shadow and me and told us about their victories. Seeing their happiness and hearing them say thank you to Alex, Ms. Finch, and me made the past two months of planning and organizing all worth it and I cannot wait to continue my involvement for this organization."
Co-director Alex '19 described the excitement and enthusiasm of the athletes. He said, “There were hundreds of smiling faces out on the fields who played like they were Cristiano Ronaldo and Alex Morgan. That is what it is all about, making a difference. It was definitely a memorable experience for everyone involved and I am privileged to have been a part of it.”
For Governor's Science teacher Jen Storer P’20, ’22, volunteering this year (her third time) was a family affair. She said, "This year I especially enjoyed sharing the event with my two daughters, who are both at the Academy. Every year, I look forward to sharing this event with incredibly generous Governor's students who volunteer their entire day to help make this day special for adult and youth athletes from throughout Massachusetts. And you can see their joy from all of their smiles and hugs!"
To read tweets from the tournament, visit twitter.com/somagovs.
To see photos from the day by student photographers, please click here.