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A Special Hero: Mrs. Ross and the Unforgettable Special Olympics Event

Last updated on May 18, 2024

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A remarkable story of dedication, resilience, and community spirit unfolded when a canceled Special Olympics event threatened to disappoint a group of eager young athletes. Thanks to the unwavering determination of a beloved teacher, Mrs. Ross, these children experienced a day they will never forget.

Eli, a vibrant student with Down syndrome, was one of the many children who had been eagerly preparing for the Rockwall ISD Special Olympics. For months, Eli and his classmates had been training diligently, mastering skills that many take for granted but were monumental achievements for them. Eli, who didn’t walk until he was five, had made significant strides in running and jumping, and this event was his opportunity to showcase his hard work. Last year was the first time Rockwall ISD had gone all out for a Special Olympics event, making the cancellation particularly disappointing.

Eli Ravetta

The anticipation was palpable. “My parents drove 12 hours to see his little special event,” Amanda Eli’s mother shared. However, their excitement turned to disappointment when inclement weather led to the event’s cancellation, with no plans for rescheduling. “We were bummed when we heard it was canceled. Eli had been practicing running on a ‘ready, set, pow’ (fake gun sound) so he was bummed too that he wasn’t going to get to do what he had been working so hard on.”

Enter Mrs. Ross, a teacher whose dedication to her students knows no bounds. Refusing to let her students’ hard work go unrecognized, Mrs. Ross took matters into her own hands. “Mrs. Ross, who is straight from heaven above, said no, we are going to do it on our own,” Amanda recounted. With the support of parents and the community, Mrs. Ross organized an impromptu Special Olympics event right on their school playground.

The local community truly rallied behind this initiative, with several local businesses sponsoring the event to make it even better than before. Gold sponsors included Culver’s, Orthopedic Specialists of Dallas, Cain Middle School PTA, and Amy Parks Elementary PTA. Silver sponsors were Tempa Law Office and Byers & Taylor Title Mansfield, while Chad and Jennifer Fogg contributed as bronze sponsors.

The day of the event was nothing short of magical. Despite the humble setting, the spirit of the Special Olympics was alive and well. Parents and community members gathered to cheer on the young athletes as they ran, jumped, and threw with all their might. The pride and joy on the children’s faces were a testament to the event’s success. “It was sweet,” Amanda said. “The kids got to show off all the stuff they’ve been working on, and it was just really, really special.”

Eli’s excitement was evident as he participated in the activities, proudly displaying the skills he had worked so hard to develop. “Running for him is a very, very big deal,” Amanda emphasized.

The substitute event not only allowed Eli and his peers to celebrate their achievements but also highlighted the incredible support from their dedicated teacher and community. The children’s smiles were huge as they received medals, proudly showing them off to one another. The cheering and encouragement from their classmates and families were heartwarming.

Mrs. Anh (class assistant), Shiloh Smith, Mrs. Smith (therapist), Dahlia Lynn, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Smith, William DePue, Camellia Cheng, Emmie Claire, Christian, Ms. Miranda, Chinedu Igbonoba,,Coach Brad, Jacob Paschall, Ms. Miranda, Coach Brad (adaptive PE coach), Eli Ravetta, Mrs. Canales, (therapist), Kendall Hargis, Mrs. Canales, Joel Smith, Mrs. White, and Truman Cheng

Amanda shared, “We are a really tight class with moms’ nights out and playdates all summer long. It is so fun to come together as families and scream for each kid participating. We have a blast supporting each other, and our kids love each other like an actual family. This is because our classroom is led by Mrs. Ross. She is amazing with the kids, such an encourager and a happy supporter, but she also pushes them to do more than they think they can because she knows they’re capable of so much. Every family in this classroom feels so much gratitude for the love and efforts this woman pours into our children.”

Mrs. Ross’s initiative and the subsequent event involved not just her but also Coach Brad (adaptive PE coach), Mrs. White, Nebbie Williams (Principal), Mrs. Smith (speech therapist), Mrs. Canales (occupational therapist), and Dr. Burt (physical therapist), alongside class assistants Mrs. Anh and Ms. Miranda. This collective effort ensured a successful and memorable day for the children.

The impact of Mrs. Ross’s initiative reached beyond the day’s festivities. The adaptive PE teacher at Rockwall ISD, inspired by the success of the event, expressed plans to organize make-up days at each elementary school, ensuring that no child would miss out on this invaluable experience. “He said that went so well he’s going to try and do a make-up day at every single little elementary school,” Amanda shared, highlighting the ripple effect of Mrs. Ross’s determination.

This story of Mrs. Ross and the Special Olympics event is a powerful reminder of the difference one dedicated individual can make in the lives of others. Her actions not only provided a memorable day for her students but also underscored the importance of perseverance, community support, and the celebration of every achievement, no matter how small it may seem.

Mrs. Ross

In a world often focused on grand gestures, it’s heartening to see how the commitment and love of one teacher can create a lasting impact. Mrs. Ross’s dedication ensured that her students felt valued and celebrated, a true testament to her character and the spirit of the Rockwall ISD community.

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