Grade 10 Hosts Special Olympics Event

This past Sunday, February 11, Grade 10 students had a chance to learn just what makes Special Olympics so special. As it has for many years, the grade hosted a Special Olympics of Massachusetts basketball tournament on the Rivers campus, with athletes from all over the state taking to the floor in Benson Gymnasium.

Rivers students participated in games, cheered on athletes, made spirit signs, served as referees, kept the scorebooks, managed the clock, prepared 175 lunches, took photographs, and sat on the benches with teams, making the visitors feel welcome and supported throughout the tourney. 

The activity, explained Director of Community Engagement Lucas Malo, ties in with other curricular components of the sophomore year. “The community engagement arc at Rivers takes the Grade 10 class from participation in the Foundations in Community Engagement Course to the Sages & Seekers intergenerational program to Special Olympics,” said Malo. “As students are settling into their roles here at Rivers, the Grade 10 year is a great moment in time to connect students to the community beyond Rivers and make them aware of ways to make an impact and best understand their leadership styles.” As for the Special Olympics, said Malo, “Rivers has an amazing facility, and when that’s matched with the talent and passion of our students, it makes for a rich and meaningful community event.”

The event is designed so that every student in the grade participates in one capacity or another. Malo cited just a few: “Katherine Shaw did an amazing job singing the National Anthem, and students Luke Morin and Alexander Murdough were the event MCs. Prior to the event, students Ben Gardner and Max Rosenfeld conducted a brief training for all tenth graders, to ensure we were uplifting this year’s DEI theme, Engaging Across Differences.”

Students were delighted to be part of an engagement effort that was as edifying as it was helpful. “It was enlightening to be exposed to a new community of people that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to interact with,” said Anya Carroll ’26. “It was truly rewarding to witness the excitement on their faces, and to know I helped make that possible. This experience reminded me that simple gestures make a difference, and that joy is found in the little things in life.” 

Max Rosenfeld ’26, one of the students who led the training, said, “It was great to see everyone come out and have a good time. I think all the work that the leaders put into this event really paid off and produced a positive outcome.”

Kyra Coggin ’26 added, “It was a really great opportunity and experience, and I got to know many of my classmates better. It was also a lot of fun to see the joy and energy from the participants, whether it was when they were playing basketball or at the awards ceremony.”

Malo said that what stood out to him most about the day was “the positive spirit and pride on display both on and off the court. I loved the authentic moments of connection and joy between Rivers students and athletes. The gym radiated with what linked us: an appreciation for sports and community. It made me proud to be a Red Wing to see our students step up and help in whatever ways they were needed.”
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