Paige Mills '14 high-fives an Olympian as Sarah Parsons '15 looks on.
Special Olympics for a slideshow of photos.
Everyone’s a winner when it comes to the Special Olympics.
The Randolph-Macon College Athletic
Department, in conjunction with Special Olympics Virginia, hosted the James
River Regional Basketball Tournament on February 12, 2012. More than 30 teams from
around the region competed, with the goal of advancing to the Special Olympics Virginia
Basketball Championship, which takes place in March.
Nearly 200 R-MC students, coaches, and Athletics Department administrators showed
their Yellow Jacket pride by cheering on athletes who competed in full- and half-court
games in the Brock Center and Crenshaw Gym.
R-MC student-athletes also sold t-shirts, worked the clocks, helped park cars and
ushered. Chartwells Catering provided free meals to more than 800 Olympians and
Special Olympics to see a slideshow of photos from the event.
During the Opening Ceremonies, Sterling Dickerson of Special Olympics Virginia welcomed
athletes, fans and volunteers. Following the Invocation, National Anthem, and Special
Olympic Oath, the games began.
In addition to basketball games, participants competed in skills competitions, which
included passing, dribbling and shooting. The skills competition was led by
Women’s Basketball Coach Carroll LaHaye and her team. Olympic Town, set
up in the Brock Center, offered younger athletes activities such as board games,
dodge ball, wallyball and karaoke—as well as the opportunity to interact with R-MC
Head Women’s Lacrosse
Coach Caitlin Moore, who helped organize the event, says the tournament gave R-MC
students the opportunity to see firsthand the power of volunteerism.
“Our partnership with Special Olympics Virginia provides an exciting opportunity
for our students to support and interact with the local community,” says Moore.
“This was a great learning experience for the Special Olympians as well as our student
Psychology major Jillian Asay ’12,
a member of the women’s basketball
team and a member of the
Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), served as a student leader.
“I helped coordinate details and made sure everything ran smoothly,” says Asay.
“This event allowed me to combine my two passions: playing basketball and working
with special-needs individuals. This event was eye-opening for us all, as well as
a way to further enhance our compassion and respect for Special Olympic athletes.”
Director of Athletics Jeff Burns ’87 says, “Our hope is that this is just the beginning
of a relationship between Randolph-Macon College and Special Olympics Virginia.
Our student-athletes experienced the ‘spirit of Special Olympics’ and will have
cherished memories that will last a lifetime.”
Following the games, Randolph-Macon hosted the Olympians for a post-tournament dance
in the Alumni Gym. Jesse Getchell ’14, a member of the Yellow Jackets
baseball team, served
In June 2011, R-MC, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and Special Olympics
Virginia (SOVA) entered into an official partnership. The affiliation between the
organizations is part of a NCAA Division III initiative that was implemented by
the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at the NCAA Convention in January
The purpose of the partnership is to improve the lives of Special Olympics athletes
through their involvement with Division III student-athletes and to foster a mutual
learning experience between Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes.
Randolph-Macon College has a longstanding tradition of community service.
In 2011, Sociology Professor Reber Dunkel
was named Coordinator of SERVE (Students Engaged
in Responsible Volunteer Experiences) in the Office of Student Life.
In 2010-11, R-MC students collectively amassed almost 8,000 volunteer hours. Nearly
50 students spent an alternative Spring Break in Florida for a combined 950 hours
with Habitat for Humanity and 130 hours for a Haiti Relief project. Students in
R-MC’s Greek organizations contributed more than 4,500 hours of collective service
to the community, collected 550 pounds of canned food, donated 60 inches of hair
to Locks of Love, 21 toys to Toys for Tots and generous funds to various organizations.
In addition, money was raised on campus and donated to the Red Cross & Partners
in Health for the Haiti Earthquake Relief. The SERVE program, in the
Office of Student Life, is an integral part of Randolph-Macon’s Leadership
Development and Service Initiative.