Area News – February 2015

Area 9

Athletes from Effingham County Lightning Win Sportsmanship Awards

EffinghamCoLightningTeamsFor any fan in the stand at the District H Basketball Tournament on Feb. 8 at  Wesclin High School in Trenton, the competition for Effingham County Lightning Special Olympics team was intense, yet awe-inspiring.  As underdogs of their divisions, both Effingham County Lightning teams fearlessly faced their much taller and more aggressive opponents. Those who witnessed the games learned a valuable lesson that day:  the heart of a champion is not always evident by the type of medal awarded at the end of competition, but rather by the athlete’s display of true sportsmanship, courage to face more aggressive opponents, and determination to get back on the court, despite the odds.

“Effingham County Lightning teams did not walk away from District with team trophies or even a W for the day, but they walked away with more respect, dignity and sportsmanlike character than any other team, having won 2 Sportsman Awards and setting the example for comradery,” said Vanessa Duncan, SOILL East Central/Area 9 Director. Read More

Area 13

Stevenson HS Students Learn Value of Being Socially Mindful

Adlai E. Stevenson High School sociology teacher Chris Salituro is always teaching his students to be aware of their sociological mindfulness.

Adlai Stevenson High School students at the 2014 Palatine Polar Plunge
Adlai Stevenson High School students at the 2014 Palatine Polar Plunge

This concept teaches students to be in tuned in to the present moment and allows them to recognize that they are each a crucial participant in society. He teaches his students in Lincolnshire that every act has an effect on others – that it is important to have an awareness of all of the people around you. In order to have his students experience their own sense of sociological mindfulness, he has his students participate in community service and blog about their experience.

In 2012, Salituro saw an advertisement about the Special Olympics Illinois Northeastern/Area 13 office opening in Lincolnshire. He thought that volunteering through Special Olympics Illinois would be a great opportunity for his students.

For the past three years, he has brought more than 80 students to volunteer at the Bocce Tournament at Barrington High School. His students were given the opportunity to help set up the tournament, score the athletes and present awards. Salituro has been such a huge advocate for Special Olympics Illinois within Stevenson High School that the Bocce Tournament will be he held at Stevenson this year, allowing even more students the opportunity to get involved. Read More

Areas 13 & 18

Barrington HS Varsity Basketball Players Cheer on Team’s Manager

Along with providing quality sporting competitions, Special Olympics Illinois continuously aims to break down stereotypes about individuals with intellectual disabilities and bring people together. This dream came to fruition at the Special Olympics Illinois District I Basketball Tournament on Jan. 25 at Deerfield High School.

Members of the Barrington High School varsity basketball team are shown with the NISRA team
Members of the Barrington High School varsity basketball team are shown with the NISRA team

Michael Asher competed with the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association (NISRA) basketball team. Michael, who is the varsity basketball manager at Barrington High School, received a big surprise when he took the court. A group of fellow students and varsity basketball players showed up to cheer on Michael and reciprocate his unwavering support of them.

The group of teenagers came out on a Sunday afternoon to cheer on their friend and Special Olympics athlete. They cheered for Michael’s every move, every shot and every play – actions that were witnessed by everyone in the gym. They truly made Michael feel special.

Special Olympics Illinois staff, volunteers, parents and the Superintendent of District 211 all took note of what an excellent group of mature and respectful individuals these boys were.

“At Special Olympics, we work daily to provide quality sporting competitions for our athletes giving them the opportunity to demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship,” explained Lauren Del Barto, Manager of Business Development for SOILL Areas 13 & 18. “Watching the Barrington High School varsity basketball team cheer Michael Asher on at Deerfield High School made my job absolutely worth it.”

Area 15

Indoor Softball, Baseball Tournaments Support Area 15

Bats were swinging at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin in January as youth  players from across the Midwest competed in two tournaments to benefit the athletes of SOILL Southern/Area 15. The two tournaments raised $80,000 for the Area.

girls indoor tourneyTwenty-eight girls softball teams from Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana competed in the 6th Annual Girls Winter Indoor Softball Tournament Jan. 16- 18. Teams competed in the following age groups: 12 & under, 14 & under and 16 & under and were guaranteed at least 3 games in the double-elimination tournament. Caitlin Asbury and Salukis for Special Olympics held a Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign during the weekend, encouraging people take the pledge to end the use of the R-word – “retard(ed).” View girls results information.

2015 Boys Baseball Logo (New)Two weeks later, 19 boys baseball teams competed in the 2015 Beaver Rice Memorial Boys Baseball Wood Bat Winter Indoor Classic. Teams from Illinois and Kentucky competed in the following age groups: 10 & under, 11 & under and 12 & under and played a minimum of three games in the double-elimination tournament. Two Area 15 boys softball teams – the Southern Illinois Lightning Bolts and Choate Panthers – demonstrated their skills during the Opening Ceremony. View boys results information.

View photos of top teams from both tournaments.