Special Olympics Dream Team Gets Send Off

Dream team send offShoemaker High School cheerleaders, dance team and band members gave the Killeen ISD Special Olympics Dream Team the star treatment Friday rolling into a regional bowling tournament.


As family members stepped into the lobby of the school auditorium, cheerleaders urged them on.


Inside, the band played and dance team members in the aisles performed with poms and cheered on the student athletes.


About 70 KISD students from 8 to 18 years of age were scheduled to participate in a Special Olympics Texas Bowling Tournament at the Phantom Warrior lanes on Fort Cavazos with other area school districts.


Kevin Lanxon, an assistant principal at Shoemaker and a Special Olympics coach said the pep rally is a good example of general education and special education students supporting each other.


The bowling tournament and a track meet in the spring, he said, “gives our kids a chance to show their skills.”


Students have been practicing bowling about two months in preparation for the annual event.


“They get excited,” said Lanxon. “The pep rally is an exciting way to start. It’s cool to see them sent off this way.”

Pep rally send off


“It’s about community involvement and inclusion. This brings special education and general education together. Students see their peers and it helps both. They enjoy working together.”


Shoemaker Principal Latisha Williams greeted the team members and their families, expressed her excitement and pride in the students’ hard work and wished them well in competition.


Laura Dunnells, a KISD special education coordinator and the Special Olympics bowling coach, called each competitor’s name and awarded them a certificate as the crowd cheered.

Principal Latisha Williams motivates team


At the end, the Wolf Pack Band played, and the spirit groups sent them off for the bus ride to the bowling lanes on post.


Iris Fernandez, mother of 14-year-old Chaparral High School student Jacob Fernandez, one of the athletes, said she teared up during the pep rally.


“It’s very important for him – especially to interact with his peers,” said the proud mother. “It’s difficult for him to socialize. This has been a great way for him to meet new friends.”


Jacob is also scheduled to compete in the track meet at Searles Stadium in April.


“It’s amazing,” she said of the support from the Shoemaker community. “As a parent, I love for him to be treated like everyone else, to not be left out. I teared up a little during the pep rally.”


The district’s Dream Team track athletes will have a chance to qualify for the state meet scheduled in May in San Antonio.