Last Wednesday, California High School's student council participated in its first Special Olympics Missouri Play Unified 3 on 3 half court basketball tournament in Russellville.
"We've been wanting to do something with Special Olympics like host an event but we're not quite there yet, so this year we're just trying to enter some competitions at other schools so that we can get more experience," student council sponsor Jamie Johnston said.
The event is unified, meaning teams consist of two Special Olympic athletes and two non-Special Olympic students. There must be two Special Olympic athletes and one non-Special Olympic student on the court at all time.
The students who participated this year were Jack Warren, Cole Kirksey, Gentrie Davis and Alayna Butts.
"Both of our athletes want to do it next year, and our unified partners are like 'We call dibs for helping out next year,'" student council sponsor Ashley Atteberry said. "So everyone was very excited at the end of the day."
The team had a three-way tie for first in their divison.
They're hoping that next year more students will be interested in participating, giving them the opportunity to compete in other divisons such as the skills challenge, which requires five students — four athletes and one unified partner. They're also looking into eventually hosting a unified event in California.
"We really see the benefits of it, and just the community around the Special Olympics athletes is just so great that we want it to reflect positively in our community and with our athletes and student council members," Atteberry said.