Special Olympics: Team Skills
December 26, 2015
The special education program at Palmetto began to participate in the Special Olympics three years ago.
The success they have achieved up to date has been largely due to the increased practice and motivation by the students in the program, most notably finishing as runner-ups in state’s last year.
Now that the Palmetto special education basketball team won the Miami Dade County (MDCPS) Special Olympics in team skills basketball, they can look forward to the area finals, on January 9th, taking place at the University of Miami.
Currently, they are seeking their first state championship in basketball. Other special olympics teams at Palmetto that have made it to states include gymnastics, bowling and bocce ball.
Coached and trained by senior Zack Wethy, the Palmetto Special Olympics basketball team has built on last year’s success. Wethy began coaching the basketball team this season, and it has impacted him in a positive way as well as the students participating on the team.
“It makes them happy when they play and it makes me feel good when these kids are having fun,” Wethy said. “I have also made special bonds with the kids.”
Given the chance to practice on Mckinney Court for the first time this year, the team has been practicing every day during third period to get better so they can win in their area games. Special education teacher, Mrs. Tilton, has been watching the students and has also been tracking their progress in the Special Olympics.
“Zack has helped with better warm ups and drills and it’s really good that he has helped us,” Tilton said. “We are really happy that he could help us.The kids also look up to him. They have really practiced a lot and worked on their shots which was the biggest problem last year in states.”
In the district basketball tournament, the team won all of the three games in their bracket, and hope to be going to states if they prevail in the area finals. This year, the state championship will be held in Tavares, Florida, and it would really show the progress that the team has made under Wethy’s help if the team can become state champions.