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SU class raises money for Special Olympics

By Staff | Nov 5, 2010

A group of Shepherd University students has organized and planned to host the 3rd annual “Hoops Fest” competition, an event to kick off the 2010 basketball season and benefit the Special Olympics of Jefferson County.

The event will be held Nov. 11 from 7 to 9 p.m at SU’s Butcher Center, and according to Tyler Mckenrick, a senior Recreation and Leisure Studies student, it is an effort designed by him and about 20 other students as a project for a class and a way to give back to the community.

“Our whole (Sports Promotion Marketing and Funding) class has gone out and collected donations for the Special Olympics,” he said.

The group decided to fund raise on behalf of the Special Olympics after taking a class vote and have worked under the supervision of Professor Melinda Quinlan who is a among a small group of community members working to bring the Special Olympics to Jefferson County.

As Quinlan explained, the purpose of the event is threefold, and “there hasn’t been a strong Special Olympics program (in Jefferson County) for the last couple of years.”

The group’s goal is to raise around $1,800 to help the Special Olympics with the start-up costs of building a new program and to pay for things like athletic equipment.

The group also hopes to attract a greater number of community members to the cause.

According to Quinlan, who serves as the sports and competition coordinator for the Special Olympics of Jefferson County committee, the majority of athletes who have participated in the past have been kids and young adults in the school system. She hopes to find more adult participants across the county and others to serve as coaches for the athletes after this event.

“We are trying to branch out,” she said.

Mckenrick, who has worked to promote “Hoops Fest,” hopes to draw a large group of participants with the various activities the students have planned for the evening.

Though admission to the event is free, guests are encouraged to donate to the cause by purchasing raffle tickets for prizes and buying concessions served throughout the night.

The main event is a student versus staff basketball game and members of each SU basketball team will also participate in a dunk contest for the crowd.

Because the event takes place Nov. 11, organizers will also celebrate Veterans’ Day by collecting Toys for Tots.