By Tony Hooker
As a child, Eunice Kennedy Shriver participated in myriad sports with her sister Rosemary. Unfortunately, Shriver, who competed in athletics in college, saw that there weren’t any opportunities for her sister, who was born with an intellectual disability, and she set about to do something about it.
In the early sixties, she hosted the very first “Camp Shriver” event at her farm in Maryland, and 34 young athletes and 26 counselors participated. The counselors soon realized that the special needs children, rather than being “belligerent or unmanageable,” simply wanted to have fun like their peers and they swam, kicked soccer balls, shot baskets and rode horses for the day. It was from this humble beginning that the Special Olympic movement grew, and from the first event, held in Chicago in 1968 until now, the event continues to grow.
The entire school is behind the Special Olympics, from their outstanding support through the annual Polar Plunge activities to lining the halls for the March of Champions, prior to the event.
Here are Villa Grove’s results from the 2022 Special Olympics Regional meet, held at Eastern Illinois University.
Morgan Quigley earned gold medals in the 100m run and the shot put. Mary Tumbleson picked up a gold medal in the softball throw and a silver in the 100m. Chance McClain earned gold in the 100m run and the softball throw. Aleah Hatten picked up a gold medal in the softball throw and a silver medal in the 100m. Violet Erl Soper was golden in the softball throw and earned a silver medal in the 100m, Alexander Cook took home a gold medal in the 100m and a silver in the softball throw, and Kaleb Drew earned bronze in both the 100m and softball throw. Coach Sondra Burwell was understandably proud of her charges, saying “Win or lose, they were all incredibly brave.”