Thornwood High School Has Long History With Special Olympics

On Saturday, May 2, more than 800 Special Olympics Illinois athletes competed in athletics (track & field) at the South Cook-Will/Area 7 Spring Games. This event wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support from the host Thornwood High School. The school has been involved with Special Olympics Illinois for more than 16 years, starting with just a track and field team and growing into a program that offers 13 sports with support from more than 20 coaches.

Thornwood High School student Castillo runs with the Law Enforcement Torch Run at the start of Area 7 Spring Games.
Thornwood High School student Miguel Castillo runs with the Law Enforcement Torch Run at the start of Area 7 Spring Games.

Special Olympics Athletic Director Mary Wimmer feels Special Olympics has provided incomparable opportunities for their students. “Here at Thornwood, our athletes aren’t just ‘special’ athletes – they are Thornwood athletes!” She continues, “We receive the same accolades, if not more, as all the other sports teams involved at school.”

Wimmer explains that often Special Olympics sports and events garner large, cheering crowds and that their annual fundraiser, Pasta Festival, has become the very popular amongst the faculty and staff. She praises her colleagues for championing the school’s Special Olympics efforts. “I’m often brought to tears by the devotion they shower upon us.”

Her gratitude extends to the Special Olympics program as well. “I wish people could see how Special Olympics has impacted our students,” says Wimmer. “They work so hard, learn important skills, and do better in school due to their involvement.”

Twenty-nine Thornwood Special Olympics athletes competed in the South Cook-Will/Area 7 Spring Games.

By Alexandra McMillin, Manager of Communications