Special Olympics athletes celebrated, supported

Special Olympics athletes celebrated, supported by Sussex Tech students
Posted on 12/19/2019
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One by one, 150 middle-school Special Olympics athletes stepped on to the court and took their best shots, firing basketballs into the air. 

Cheers and applause filled the gym at Sussex Technical High School this week as students participated in the middle-school Basketball Skills Competition for Kent and Sussex counties, showing their skills in a variety of events and taking turns at the podium to receive their medals.

Assisting the contestants in events and guiding them through rotations were about 40 Sussex Tech students in the physical therapy – athletic health care technical area, who have been a constant presence volunteering with Special Olympics for more than 15 years.

This was the third year volunteering for both Abiageal Staniewski of Millsboro and Jessica Truitt of Seaford, who were helping guide the young athletes in a hoops competition.

“Seeing the joy on the childrens’ faces when they make a basket – it makes you so happy to cheer them on,” said Truitt, of Seaford, who plans a career in physical therapy.

Staniewski, of Millsboro, agreed. “Just interacting with the kids and the community is great – and doing something that draws on our technical area at the same time,” said Staniewski, who is going into a pre-med program.

Sussex Tech is Special Olympics Delaware’s longest-running partner for its in-school skills competitions. Physical therapy – athletic health care teacher Carolyn Maull said the event an excellent opportunity for her students to gain hands-on experience while doing some good for the community.

“This is really what we try to teach here at Sussex Tech – putting technical skills into action while serving others,” Maull said. “The athletes have a great time, and we’re proud to help support them.”

Sussex Tech’s physical therapy – athletic health care program readies students for many health-related professional fields and post-secondary education. Students complete at least 75 hours of job-shadowing and work-based learning experience in physical therapy, and complete coursework in anatomy/physiology, medical terminology, nutrition and fitness, and psychology, among other topics. Students are prepared to enter a variety of careers, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, or athletic training.

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