WHEATFIELD — On Saturday, Jan. 11, the Champions Together Program hoisted their fifth banner in celebration of the partnership between Kankakee Valley High School and Special Olympics. Prior to the varsity boys’ basketball game, the differently-abled athletes from both KV and Munster, their partners and the players and coaches from both teams, gathered at mid-court to add the banner for last year. This is the sixth year of the partnership. Kankakee Valley is one of the 13 original Champions Together schools.
At halftime, a special Champions Together basketball scrimmage was held to the delight of the crowd. Players, assisted and cheered on by their partners smiled with joy as they attempted shots and dribbled up and down the court.
Following the scrimmage, Jacob Kubiak and Drew Keilman represented KV and Munster, respectively in a three-point-shootout. KV’s Brayden McKim and Munster’s Phillip Lemke competed in a Free Throw challenge and Logan Gentz and Taylor Duff had a lay-up battle.
Each participant received several prizes and enjoyed the fellowship and friendship between the schools. Representing Kankakee Valley, in addition to athletes Gentz, McKim and Kubiak, were Matthew Van Baren, Claityn Ray, Zoe Ferguson, Lizzy Gomez, Emily Davis and Dominick Combs. Munster athletes, in addition to the three listed previously, included Matt Keilman.
The Kougar partners were Sam Martin, Nolan McKim, Ava McKim, Lilly Toppen, Shelby Flick, Halle Gutwein, Dalton Zacharias, Halle Frieden, Annalise Wakefield and Colton Wright. For the Mustangs it was Emma Gossman, Sam Latinovich, Laila Wallace, Emily Banazek and Lilly Lemke.
Sponsors of the program include Roselawn U-Lock, DeMotte Glass, Walstra Landscaping, Snyder Auto, Craig Anderson Plumbing, Herrema Dairy, Topline Trucking, B & F Pools, Toppen Building and Greg and Debbie Oliver. Additional donations for the night included those from McDonalds of DeMotte, Quiznos, Dairy Queen, Subway and Varsity Sports.