Guilford’s Olympians


Kai'terra Ross, Reporter

Students gathered in the crowded gymnasium, eager to hear the starting line-up for the long awaited Special Olympics basketball game. Mr. Yerk broadcast players one by one as they ran down the line-up tunnel with the support of cheerleaders and dancers screaming with Guilford crowd roaring. Students and staff were anxious to see the result of this year’s game.

The Special-Olympics team has been able to display their talent in front of the Guilford student body for the last thirteen years with the help of Coach Megan Guthrie and Coach Mel Gilifillan. The coaches love interacting with student athletes and seeing how happy they are whether they win or lose.

“We have been coaching the Guilford Special-Olympics basketball team for ten years,” said Ms. Guthrie. “We are the only high school in the Rockford District that has their own basketball team. I love coaching them whether we win or lose because they all had fun.”

Thomas Kellogg, senior, has played since his freshman year. He is proud to say he is a Guilford Viking and is satisfied with the last season he was able to experience with his team mates. Ending with a great season and winning a lot of games, he says his farewell to his time on the team.

“We had a great year,” said Kellogg. “It was a little emotional for me towards the end because I knew I was about leave, but I enjoyed my time on the team.”

The support from others means a lot to both the players and the coaches. Coach Gilifillan appreciates the Guilford support during games. As a coach, the school game is more than a game.

“Our students are proud to wear a Guilford uniform, represent their school, and to be a part of team,” said Mr. Gilifillan. “The excitement comes from the crowd, cheer team, and dance team!  This school event helps promote inclusion and unity.”

Daniel King, senior, has played on the Special-Olympics team since he was a sophomore. He explains why and what he loves to do during the game.

“I hoped to make as many shots as I could with my playmate, Brandon Williams,” said King. “I love to shoot three-pointers.”

The Special-Olympic team members do many activities throughout the year with the student body as well. Megan Vosberg, senior National Honor Society member, has interacted and gotten to know many of the athletes while volunteering for NHS.

“We know it means a lot to them when we are there to cheer them on and hang out with them,” said Vosberg. “We had a poster party and went to the boys’ basketball game. Also, NHS helps out at the Special-Olympic basketball tournaments every year, which is always nice to be a part of.”

Guilford’s students and staff hope this special tradition can be carried out for a long time. Winning or losing, these athletes get the opportunity to play the sport they love, something that is life changing and fun for both the players and coaches.

“We would like to see our players continue to be involved in Special-Olympics and other community events,” said Coach Guthrie. “We love to see the pure joy on all our athlete’s faces.”