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Another Successful Year at Special Olympics Ontario

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Categories: Happenings @ TDSB, Great Things, Inclusive Schools, Student, Parent, and Community, Special Education and Section Programs, Leadership, Learning and School Improvement

“It was an unforgettable experience. As a coach, I am truly humbled by the performances of our athletes, the volunteers who support the Games and the Special Olympics organization who put this amazing event together,” said Maplewood High School Coach Anne Queen.  

From May 14 to 17, 10 Toronto District School Board (TDSB) schools, 124 students and 28 coaches attended the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games. The Games, which were held in Toronto, welcomed 2,500 athletes ages 13-21, with and without disabilities, from Canada and around the world.

The TDSB has been supporting the Special Olympics High School Championships for over 5 years.  This year, as part of the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics, the provincial Games provided an opportunity to unite the world and became an International event.

“By supporting these games, we provide students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to play sports in a championship format while promoting inclusiveness and a healthy lifestyle. Once they graduate, students can join their local Special Olympics chapter and continue competing in a variety of sports.” explained Duncan LeBlanc, Maplewood High School Principal, and Education Chair for the Games Organizing committee.

The Games kicked off with an emotional opening ceremony where TDSB students took part in lighting the Special Olympics torch.

“The ceremony was very exciting. Two of our students participated in bringing the torch to the stage. When it was finally our turn, cheering fans were there to greet us as we lighted the cauldron,” recalled Coach Queen.

Young athletes had the chance to compete in five sports: basketball, athletics, bocce, floor hockey and soccer. In order to represent their school, students need to pre-qualify, an intense process that starts at the beginning of the school year, right up to the Games.

During the Games, students live at university or college residences where they get to experience “life away from home”. They also participate in seminars such as Healthy Athletes, tour the city and attend events that allow young athletes to share their experiences, make new friends and of course, have fun!

“Everything was great and I loved the food,” said Spring Ding, a Grade 10 student from David and Mary Thomson CI. “I had fun at Track running and I am glad to have been picked to go to the Games with our coach and other students from my school.”

TDSB students won 73 medals: 23 bronze, 25 silver and 25 gold in Athletics;  two bronze in Basketball;  two  bronze in Bocce one gold, one silver and two bronze in Soccer and one gold in Floor Hockey.

Congratulations to our young athletes and the many coaches and volunteers who made this possible!

Participating Schools:

Bendale BTI (Soccer)

Central Etobicoke HS (Floor Hockey, Athletics, Girls soccer – combined with Heydon Park)

David & Mary Thomson CI (Athletics, Bocce)

Drewry SS (Basketball)

Heydon Park SS (Athletics, Girls Soccer)

Lester B Pearson CI (Athletics)

Maplewood HS (Athletics, Bocce, Soccer)

Sir Oliver Mowat CI (Bocce)

Sir William Osler HS (Athletics, Basketball)

West Humber CI (Athletics, Bocce)


Learn more:

Special Olympics Ontario

Hosts the Draft an Athlete Campaign