Over 120 volunteers pitched in to bring 40 schools to Austin College Wednesday morning for a Special Olympics basketball tournament.
Each year Austin College students participate in a shortened term known as Janterm to give them hands-on experience. As part of that, the college provides a public service opportunity for the students on what is known as JanServe day, which this year fell on Wednesday.
The college, with cooperation from the Sherman Independent School District, welcomed over 500 special needs students from North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. It was part of an ongoing tradition the school has participated in the past six years.
“It is something we always look forward to each year,” Director for Communications for Sherman ISD Kimberly Simpson said. “We look forward to seeing students showcase their talents and resilience throughout the event. It is a truly wonderful event Sherman ISD is proud to partake in.”
Austin College Service Station co-chair Alisa White was thrilled to be participating.
“It means the world to us,” White said. “We are a very service-oriented school. This is the type of stuff we like to do. It is fun for us to be involved in something to perpetuate goodness.”
White said the special needs students were also excited to be participating.
“It is a great opportunity for them to get out and compete, to be a kid and have fun while celebrating their diversity,” White said.
Service Station board member Aneurin Minson said everyone was glad to be on hand for the event.
“The are having a blast from the moment they get off the buses we are out there greeting them the kids are smiling,” Minson said. “We’ve been up since early this morning and we’re not tired at all everyone is so excited and having a great time.”
Austin College senior Ann Savage, who was one of the volunteers helping out, said it made her happy to be a part of the event.
“It is something special to be a part of,” Savage said. “It’s my third year doing it — the joy it brings is really cool. It’s great to see the kids compete. They are determined to show off the skills they have been practicing. It’s great to see them compete and have fun.”