Life Skills students and Friends Connect team-up for basketball tournament
Hosting the annual Special Olympics Christian Volkmann basketball tournament, Maine West’s two special basketball teams played three games each during the Feb. 17 event.
For the past 20 years, this tournament has served as not only a fun activity but also as a way for students who are mostly isolated from each other during school to connect. This event, which is made possible by Life Skills teacher Laura Pettyjohn and numerous student volunteers, invites students from Maine West and surrounding high schools to participate.
The tournament lasted over five hours, and students were invited to volunteer as coaches, referees, or to run the check-in desk. Many of these volunteers are a part of Maine West’s own basketball program or the Friends Connect club. “I like being able to work with the kids,“ said Reilly Olson, a junior involved with Friends Connect. During the tournament, she went on the court with the teams to assist them while they were playing. She says that even though some athletes might need more help than others, they are all friendly and fun to work with.
Even though officials kept score during some of the games, there was no official winner. Instead, an emphasis was put on having fun and creating connections with others.