Hero’s welcome greets Special Olympics athletes

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Special Olympics athletes from MVRHS return to the Island with a crowd of people welcoming them. - Lucas Thors

After participating in the Special Olympics in Mashpee, a boat full of smiling students was met by family, friends, and a line of fire trucks and police who came to show their support.

The students had just competed in a range of athletic events, ranging from track and field to basketball, to parachute games. Every year, the Special Olympics focus on providing an experience that is enjoyable and inclusive.

“We want kids, both with disabilities and without them, to come together and have fun,” said Ryan Kent, special education teacher and physical education teacher at MVRHS. “It’s all about inclusion, that’s why we are forming the ‘Unified Sports Program.’”

According to Kent, the program is growing rapidly, and seeks to join special needs students with other students who do not have an interest in varsity sports, but still want to participate in school athletics, known as a “unified sports” program.

Kent has given up the head coaching job of the football team after receiving a Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship to receive an advanced degree in adaptive physical education.

Thursday’s trip off-Island was sponsored by the Pink Squid Yacht Club in Edgartown, which paid for the trip and bought uniforms for the Olympians.