When Volunteer High School sophomore Courtney Bellamy was chosen for Homecoming Court Princess this past Saturday evening her choice for Escort warmed the hearts of everyone in attendance.
Mason Combs is an athlete in Volunteer High School’s Special Olympics Unified Sports program, a class that Courtney began taking this year.
Courtney said her participation in the Unified Special Olympics program has “changed my life for the best”, and she knew she wanted one of her classmates on the field with her for Saturday’s Homecoming ceremony.
In Her own Words
In middle school I wasn’t really involved in Special Olympics but it was very close to my heart.
My freshman year I wasn’t a Special Olympics United partner but I helped with Unified Track and I knew, I needed to be a part of the Unified sports team.
This year, my Sophomore year, I got put into the Unified sports class and my mom was making me change class to Driver’s Education. So I filled out the papers to change, but when I went to (Unified) class the first day, I knew this was my place.
After the class I called my mom and told her I wasn’t able to switch out of the class. The athletes already held a special place in my heart. I knew that class was going to hold a special place in my heart.
Mason is one of the sweetest boys I know. In the mornings at school Mason does the pledge over the intercom.
It always puts a smile on my face knowing he loves saying the pledge to our beautiful country we live in. Mason is an athlete in my Unified Sports Class, and he’s always giving his best.
Mason also love ETSU. When I found out I was in Homecoming I knew I wanted to include an athlete in my Unified Sports Class. I had a feeling Mason was the one to escort me.
(Special Olympics coordinator Christy Thacker) and I talked about it and got the go-ahead from his mom, and I knew Mason was going to be my escort. Mrs. Thacker explained to him what Homecoming was, and Mason said he would escort me.
I could tell he was excited. Unified Sports has changed my life for the best possible way it could. The best friendships are made in Unified Sports. Smiles and laughter erupt from a pass that leads to a touchdown or the swish of a basketball going into the net.
As an athlete sometimes you don’t have your team celebrating with you, but in our Unified Sports class it doesn’t matter what team you’re on or where you go to school. You feel like one huge team from the sportsmanship and love that the kids carry.
Usually a typical teenager would say their favorite class was gym, or math, or reading, but mine is Unified Gym Class. The best part of my day is walking into the gym lobby and talking to my fellow athletes about how their day is going, and what they did the night before.
It never fails to put a smile on my face. We all have the best time in class, even though we mess up we always have someone there to encourage us and put us back to where we started. My fellow peer tutors would tell you the same thing, we are one big family. Inclusion has always played a factor in my life.
Including someone in a simple conversation might just change their day. Even walking down the halls at school and including someone in a smile might put a positive change to their day. We don’t know what people go through during their day but including someone may just change their outlook on things. We should choose to include. Mrs. Thacker does an outstanding job doing what she does. A lot of these athletes wouldn’t have the opportunity to be included and play sports without her. A huge thank you goes out to her, without her all these friendships I’ve been grown into wouldn’t be without her.
Mason’s mom responds
Darline Webb: Mason and our family loved being apart of Homecoming.
The culture of inclusion is an act of kindness, and we are blessed to have the Cortneys of the world. She was amazing. Thanks all of VHS. Such a great example of school spirit for all.