SAAC Hosts Special Olympics Unified Event

SAAC Hosts Special Olympics Unified Event

NEWTON, Mass. (4/27/15) – The Lasell College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), students of Lasell College, members of the Barry Price Center, and people with disabilities from around Newton all participated in Lasell College’s inaugural Special Olympics Event, "Laser for a Day" on Sunday, April 26. This student-run event was led by senior SAAC President Denise Archetto and her classmate Talia Gabriel.

“Ever since my sophomore year, I knew that I wanted this kind of event to happen on campus.  Division III athletics has a partnership with Special Olympics and I wanted to make sure that Lasell got on board, just like the other GNAC (Great Northeast Athletic Conference) institutions”, explained Archetto. 

Gabriel interned with Special Olympics Massachusetts in the fall of 2014 and coordinated with families and atlhletes to make the event a success.  Roughly 15 student-athletes from Lasell participated with 12 athletes with disabilities making up three teams: navy, gray, and white. 

The first event on the schedule was the opening ceremony emceed by senior field hockey captain Brianna Robbins. Robbins served as the event director and made proper annoucements before, during, and after games. In the opening act, Robbins played the National Anthem, had the youngest participant recite the Special Olympics players’ oath, and had junior basketball player Sherilyn Small recite the Special Olympics coaches’ oath. 

Participants played in multiple unified soccer and basketball events throughout the four-hour event while also enjoying refreshments throughout the day. 

Junior basketball player Deanna Barrett puts Special Olympics close to her heart, “Knowing someone who passed away with a disability, I thought that being a part of a unified event like this would be extremely hard.   

But, seeing how happy the athletes were to play basketball with us opened my eyes to regretting not getting involved sooner."  

All athletes were honored in a medal ceremony at the end of the day and went home with big smiles and new friends. 

Gabriel concluded the days’ event saying, “Wrapping up my senior year, I am extremely happy with this events’ outcome.  My love for Special Olympics events started when I was in high school and being able to continue that in college has helped me decide to pursue working with non-profit organizations.  I wanted to make some sort of impact on Lasell’s campus and having this be the first Special Olympics event, I am proud to say that I helped make it a Special Olympics college.”