The TDSSAA Intermediate Schools division was created for schools under the jurisdiction of the TDSB that provide programs for students with special needs. These athletes participate in the Intermediate Schools Leagues and/or Tournaments hosted by various volunteer Convenors across the Board throughout the school year. Further, in partnership with Special Olympics Ontario, students have an opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics Ontario School Championships & Qualifiers Program which provides opportunities to participate in Track & Field, Bocce Ball, Soccer and Basketball. The dates and locations of many of these events are posted in the column to the right.
Special Olympics Basketball Tournament
The TDSSAA Special Olympics Basketball Tournament took place on Thursday, November 17th at Upper Canada College. Co-ed teams from Agincourt CI, Sir William Osler HS, Drewry SS, Maplewood HS and Frank Oak SS took part in a series of games throughout the day eventually crowning a champion. We would like to thank all of the volunteers, athletes and coaches for their time and effort in making this tournament one to remember.
Athletes look for a rebound during a game at Upper Canada College in November 2016. For more photos from recent games, visit the Photo Gallery.
NEER WON’T LET DISABILITY STOP HIM FROM DOING HIS BEST
By David Grossman
There are times when Antik Neer pauses in front of a hook on the wall of his room at home – and his face lights up with expressions of enthusiasm and excitement.
For Neer, there are flashbacks of success that come to life every time he looks at his medals – awards for achievements that are associated with his determination, a strong willpower and personal desire to do the best he can.
A graduating student at Maplewood High School in the Toronto District School Board, Neer has always wanted to be like others his age – but, in some cases, he’s not.
The 18-year old Scarborough resident has cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects movement of his right arm and he has amblyopia, also referred to as “lazy eye”, which reduces vision in one eye caused by an abnormal development early in life.
“It really isn’t a big deal for me as I have adjusted and learned to do things with what I have,” said Neer, who lives a busy life packed with playing sports, volunteering to help others in need, thinking about his future career and, yet, still finds time for his passion of painting landscapes.
“When I found out about my disability, it was as a young boy in Bangladesh and I just wanted to find a way to try be like most normal people.”
A Special Needs student and multi-sport athlete, Neer admits he has been a target for bullies who have made fun of his disability, but he still holds no grudges and has shrugged it off.
“I know I was born this way and chose to focus on things I can do rather than those I can’t,” said Neer, who is fascinated by the world computers and is contemplating a future in software programming.
When in need of support, Neer, who lives in the Port Union and Kingston area, gets the assistance through the comfort and encouragement of administrators, teachers, coaches, family and friends.
From soccer to cross country running, basketball to ball hockey, Neer’s positive outlook on life is contagious and the radiant smile something special. He has found ways, in his drive for success, to participate at the school level as well as on various community teams.
School advisors claim Neer personifies work, effort and doing whatever it takes to be a great person.
George Kourtis, the TDSB’s Program Coordinator for Health and Physical Education, said Neer is just one of a growing number of students with Special Needs who are participating in extra curricular activities.
“It’s not about awards, but giving young people a chance – and (Neer) is a person who has an attitude that perseveres,” said Kourtis. “What makes school sports special is that we cater to all students regardless of social status or physical abilities.”
Poised at times, Neer is fearless, energized and can be a source for inspiration.
He can also be an intense competitor – and his ego and momentum get a huge boost when competing at the Special Olympics and leaving with overwhelming accomplishments.
“I find (the Special Olympics) amazing,” said Neer. “It’s just great to have an opportunity to have fun, get better and come away with something like medals. I might need a bigger hook in my room one day.”
While Neer was nominated for, but didn’t win, the Maplewood Valedictorian title, he leaves the school this year winning the prestigious male Athlete of the Year award – a citation that he considers to be as important as the one bestowed on him for Most Dedicated Player at the school.
Exercising on a daily basis, Neer is particularly proud of a silver medal won in bocce and a bronze in soccer – in his first experience at Provincial qualifiers. And there’s also the Provincial floor hockey success in Ottawa.
“I don’t find there is pressure to win - I just keep competing,” said Neer. “It’s plain and simple for me. I just go out have fun and try show everyone that I am the best at what I do.”
This spring our Intermediate Schools represented TDSSAA in the Special Olympics Ontario’s (SOO) School Championships! The SOO School Championships host students from all over the province to compete in Basketball, Soccer, Bocce, and Track & Field. Throughout 2015/2016, teams participated in regional events to qualify for the final held in Durham Region June 1st to June 3rd, 2016.
Forty six athletes from Maplewood HS, Sir William Osler HS, Drewry SS, and Heydon Park SS competed against some of the top athletes from across the province. Our students took top titles in Track and Field events and medalled in every team sport TDSB participated in. TDSSAA could not be more proud of our athletes and the opportunities that SOO School Championships has given them. Congratulations all!
For more information on SOO School Championships, as well as pictures from the event, visit the Special Olympics Ontario’s School Championships website.
TDSSAA Athlete’s full results – Special Olympics Ontario’s School Championships – June 2016
Intermediate School Sport Schedule - Updated
Boys Volleyball – Tier 1 (Nov 24)
Contact: Joseph Valtellini
Girls Indoor Soccer (Dec 7)
@ Scarborough Soccer Centre
Contacts: Diane Reed/Rachel Cranswick
Boys Indoor Soccer (Dec 8)
@ Lakeshore CI
Contact: Mark Nicholson
Girls Basketball Fest (Dec 14)
@ Maplewood HS
Contact: Janice McDonald-Teggart
Boys Basketball League – Tier 1/2 Regionals (Feb 8)
@ Sir William Osler HS and Central Etobicoke HS
Contact: Rick Ellis
Boys Basketball League – Tier 1/2 Finals (Feb 24)
@ Albert Campbell CI
Contact: Rick Ellis
Girls Volleyball (Feb 22)
@ Maplewood HS
Contact: Janice McDonald-Teggart
Badminton - Tier 1 & 2 (Mar 1)
@ Central Etobicoke
Contacts: Mark Nicholson
Badminton - Tier 1 & 2 (Mar 8)
@ West Hill CI
Contacts:(E) Janine Davies
Badminton - Tier 3 (Mar 9)
@ Sir William Osler HS
Contact: Allison King
Boys Tier III Basketball Fest (Mar 28)
@ Central Etobicoke HS
Contact: Dennis Dawes (Frank Oke)
Co-Ed Floor Hockey (April 13)
@ York Humber HS
Contact: Greg Millet
Track & Field All Tiers (May 2)
@ Birchmount Stadium
Contact: Diane Reed
Co-Ed Softball (May 31)