Mikaela Matute loves the opportunity to help others. A student at Hollywood Hills High School, she helped run a Special Olympics program for students with disabilities.
“It made feed good to be part of this,” Matute said. “Everybody had fun. I like helping other people.”
The Hollywood Hills Special Olympics program was focused on basketball. There were basketball skills events in areas such as dribbling between cones, and hot shots, where participants shot a basketball toward a hoop from different points on the court.
The students played against each other in a three-on-three basketball game. They were divided into two teams, the Warriors and the Legends. There was also a half time show. And each player had their name announced just like it would be in a big time college or professional game.
Cathy Kontsis, a physical education teacher, and Diana Cabot, a physical education and leader teacher, ran the event.
“I want to help bring regular students and disabled students together. I want to encourage the regular students to teach the disabled students a skill and to make them feel good,” said Kontsis.
Cabot was also pleased with the event. “This was our first year and we did pretty well. We will do this again and we hope to expand it,” said Cabot.
Hana Starvish enjoyed helping to run the Special Olympics. “We challenged them to get out there and play basketball. It was fun for the kids and I liked helping them,” she said.
Kathryn Bailey said she was glad to see the disabled students having a good experience. “I liked seeing them run out and having their names called out,” she said.
The disabled students also enjoyed the competition. Devon Orima said, “It was fun and I made some baskets.”
Terrance Cherry received first place for dribbling. “I loved it,” said Cherry.
Pamela Lamar-Dukes, who teaches disabled students, was glad her students could have a positive experience with regular students. “This helps them interact more with the regular students and helps with their self-esteem. I thought everyone who participated benefitted from this activity,” she said.