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Project Unify Special Olympics Teams Go for Gold!

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During the last school year, our school started its very own chapter of what is known as Project Unify or Unified Champion Schools. This is a youth-led initiative put forth by Special Olympics in order to teach acceptance of those with disabilities through sports and education. The Belen chapter was made possible through the efforts of Javier Guerrero Vicente and various other members of the Class of 2018 (current Juniors).

The goal going into this school year was to take our chapter to the next level by creating, sponsoring, and coaching Special Olympics teams. The first of these was a basketball team that would be named the Belen Jesuit Wolfpack.

Javier Guerrero (’18) put together a team and held try-outs at our very own outdoor basketball courts this past October. He also had to find volunteers who were willing to give up their time to help and play alongside the Special Olympics athletes. These athletes were of all shapes and sizes with athletes of all ages. Once the team was assembled, it was comprised of Belen students and students from other schools with intellectual disabilities. They became known as the Wolfpack, and they practiced two to three times a week in preparation for the Special Olympics state basketball games. Coached by Mr. Johnny Calderin (’92) and Javier Guerrero (’18), the team came together to face Doris Sanders Hawk and the Nova Blue Sharks and would eventually emerge as state runner-up in their relatively competitive division.

Nonetheless, the Wolfpack did not linger on their silver medals for too long as 2017 would bring another Special Olympics team to Belen. This semester, the Project Unify soccer team began practicing on the fields at our very own De La Cuz Stadium. Witnessing or even participating in a Wolfpack practice is an unbelievable experience. It is surprising to see how well and patiently our peers work with the Special Olympics athletes. They work day in and day out to help them improve their skills and lead them to victory.

If you are interested in being a part of the upcoming soccer team or if you would like to get involved with Project Unify in any way, please contact Mr. Johnny Calderin (’92) at jcalderin@belenjesuit.org or Javier Guerrero (’18) at jguerrerovicente18@belenwolverines.org. Go Wolfpack!

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The Student News Site of Belen Jesuit Preparatory School
Project Unify Special Olympics Teams Go for Gold!