On Saturday, 41 Austin College student-athletes volunteered with the Special Olympics of Greater Dallas Spring Games, which were held at Lovejoy High School. Helping to organize the event were former 'Roo basketball player Katy Williams, coaches Loren Dawson and Kristina Corona, and members of the 'Roo Student Athlete Advisory Council.
"Saturday was another example of how outstanding the young men and women are in this athletics department," said Dawson, head coach of the 'Roo football team. "Although the goal was to serve others, the experience was so rewarding that I believe we received more than we gave. It was a true blessing to work with the Special Olympians."
The student-athlete volunteers helped out in various facets during the Spring Games, working with events such as track and field, judging the softball toss, and also escorting the competitors to the awards stands.
"It was a great time, and getting to work with the kids of all ages is always fun," said junior football player Noah Jesko, president of the SAAC. "Watching them compete with each other, having fun, and interacting with all of our student-athletes was pretty cool. I'm really glad that we all got to go, and I can't wait to go back next year."
This is the latest collaboration between Austin College athletics and Special Olympics. Earlier this year, Austin College was honored as the winner of the NCAA Division III Special Olympics National Spotlight Poll for an event that was hosted in the Mason Complex. That event was also coordinated by Williams, a 2010 graduate of Austin College who works as a Program Director for Special Olympics.
"Special Olympics was a time for all of our student-athletes to come together to help support other athletes in a fun-filled way," said women's basketball player Jenna Longo, the vice president of the SAAC. "It's always enjoyable to see how happy the athletes are when you show them support and try to make their day a memorable one."