On Saturday, October 27, 2018, volleyball teams from Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties competed against each other at the 2018 Invitational Volleyball Tournament held at Abraham Lincoln High School. Chase Trimmer, Director of Special Olympics Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, kicked off Opening Ceremonies with a warm welcome. Afterward, he introduced Global Messenger, Athlete Representative and member of SOPA Philly’s Athlete Leadership Committee, Raymond Anderson as the Master of Ceremonies. Raymond then took over and welcomed the different teams to the tournament. The teams who participated included Montgomery County “Hawks I”, Montgomery County “Hawks II”, Montgomery County “Key Lime”, Montgomery County “Teal Seals”, Montgomery County “Warriors”, Philadelphia “Pure Energy”, Philadelphia “Special Stars”, Philadelphia “Wildcats I” and Philadelphia “Wildcats II”.

Once the teams made their way in, Raymond was able to welcome Abraham Lincoln’s Air Force Junior ROTC to present the colors, with the color guard being led by Cadet Escavez. Next, Chase took over again to thank everyone for coming once again and  to wish luck to the athletes and coaches competing. Then, Tori Amaradio, a Special Olympics athlete from the Philadelphia “Wildcats I”, led the athletes in the Special Olympics Oath of “Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”. The ceremony proceeded with Rosemary Duffy from Philadelphia County leading the coaches in reciting the Coach’s Oath. After both oaths were recited, Francis Bradshaw, an athlete from the Philadelphia “Special Stars” carried out the Flame of Hope. Following the entrance of the Flame of Hope was everyone’s favorite part – the declaration that the 2018 Philadelphia Invitational Volleyball Tournament open. Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia athlete, Sharon Quarles was able to officially open the games to a roaring crowd.

Despite the gloomy weather outside, it was all warmth and smiles inside.

The games began with every single athlete bringing extremely high energy to the court. As the division one, two, and three teams competed against each other, you could see everyone’s excitement to be playing and the sportsmanship throughout the matches. As the games continued, everyone had a blast cheering each other on! Congratulations to all of our teams and coaches everyone an amazing job!


Division 1
  1. Montgomery Warriors
  2. Philadelphia Pure Energy
Division 2
  1. Montgomery Teal Seals
  2. Philadelphia Wildcats I
  3. Montgomery Hawks I
Division 3
  1. Mongomery Key Lime
  2. Philadelphia Stars
  3. Philadelphia Wildcats II


More photos can be found on our Facebook Page


Our three Philadelphia soccer teams made their season debut at the 2018 Fall Sports Classic. This event was hosted by Special Olympics PA – Area M on Sunday, September 16th in Hershey, PA. Over 800 Special Olympics athletes from across PA competed in Bocce, Long Distance Running/Walking, Powerlifting, Soccer, and Volleyball for the 15th Annual Fall Sports Classic. The event was based at four different locations in the Hershey area. Hershey High School hosted powerlifting and volleyball, Hershey Middle School hosted volleyball, Founders Field hosted LDR/W and soccer, and Hershey Italian Lodge hosted bocce

It was the perfect day for our soccer teams to make their debut, clear and sunny with a nice breeze to ensure our athlete didn’t get too hot. Our three soccer teams, Philly United, Strykers, and Stars and Stripes gave a strong showing as they went head-to-head with their competitors. This is the first time Philadelphia has had a Unified Soccer Team participate in the Community Program. A unified team means individuals with and without intellectual disabilities train and compete together. Through training and competing together, friendships and a mutual respect are born between both athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities). Parents, coaches, and fans were excited to get outside and cheer on our teams as they made it one step closer to the end goal – state games, aka, Fall Festival.


Philly United (7v7)
Walt Beckman Charles Zisette, Mitchel Stahl, Sam Fioravanti Jr, Danny Charlton, Carl Irvis, Jesse Rose, Jason Bixby, Ian Capacio, Michael Castillo, Justin Martinez, Hope Anderson 2nd
Strykers (Unified 7v7)
Stacy Plumbo Brian Oldankowski, Ryan Milanaik, Joseph Rynkiewicz, Matthew Grabowski, Ryan Bogan, Michael Luciani, Brian Stulz, Hailey Hurst, Angel Rodriguez, Jonathon Boback 2nd
Stars and Stripes (5v5)
Charles Abdo Allison Davidson, Danny Amrik, Jackie Lutts, Emmett Abdo, Lisa Barbour, Kristie Walls, Michael Weinberg, David Brent Williams 2nd

Brandywine Realty Trust hosted the First Ever Philly Plunge Kickoff on Wednesday, August 8th at the Commerce Square Court Yard. Music, water ice, and beach balls were all the things necessary to cool off from the hot day where temperatures were reaching the low nineties. Brandywine Realty Trust helped us excite people for the Philadelphia Polar Plunge that will be held on November 30th at Drexel University’s Recreation Center (3301 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104) between 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Unlike the Kickoff, the weather during the Philadelphia Polar Plunge will hopefully be a brisk day where brave souls will jump into a freezing pool and be #FreezinForAReason. The Philadelphia Polar Plunge is Philadelphia’s premiere fundraiser, where the goal is to raise funds for all of our programming as well as awareness for our athletes and programs.

PJ Brown & Her Resistance headlined the event on a stage that was centered in the courtyard. As people flowed in and out of the courtyard for lunch, Kristin Lewis, author of You Are Special, was also on-site selling her book and signing copies! Music, snacks, and books were outside and if attendees wanted to cool off, they had to look no further than Pagano’s Market & Bar who ran a drink special to support the Philadelphia Polar Plunge. In addition to the fun, Brandywine Realty Trust and Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia had raffles that attendees could win. The hot day couldn’t contain the enthusiasm of Special Olympics staff, who were there to help answer questions about the Philly Plunge and share their experiences. As the event continued, people were chatting about the plunge and ideas were popping into everyone’s minds for costumes, business wear and ways to help out Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia. The kickoff was not only a success but it reminded everyone that with all of us together that we can create a community of love and inclusion for all.

Thank you to Brandywine Realty Trust, PJ Brown & Her Resistance, Kristin Lewis, and Pagano’s Market & Bar for their support of the Philly Plunge!

For more information on the Philadelphia Plunge, click here. To register for this year’s Philly Plunge, click here.


It was a beautiful day, perfect to be outside for Track and Field Championships held at Shippensburg University on Saturday, May 26th. In their first appearance at the state championships, MLK Wins 2018 PIAA State Track & Field Championship in the Special Olympics Division. Martin Luther King’s Unified Team joined their varsity team on the journey to Shippensburg University – and even donned the same school shirt as the varsity team. To get here, Martin Luther King’s Unified Track & Field team competed in two local tournaments against other Philadelphia schools and then won the Philadelphia Track & Field Championship. 

Sophomore India Grierson, Sophomore Precious Ford, Junior Maurice Griffin, Senior Ojay Harris, Sophomore Zhaire Harris-White, Junior Jasir Newsome, Senior Dante Young-Connor, Sophomore Isaiah Collins, Junior Shaheed Cooper, Sophomore Augustus Hill Jr, Sophomore Malik Jones, Sophomore Nagid Sawyer, and Junior Jalen Williams made up Martin Luther King’s Unified Team. Athletes and partners competed in the 100-Meter Dash, 400-Meter Race, 800-Meter Race,  Shot-put, Mini-Javelin, and the 4×100-Meter Relay. MLK took an early lead after the 100-Meter Dash and held on to the lead throughout the championship. 

Congratulations, Martin Luther King! We look forward to what your next season brings!


For all photos from the event, click here.


Team Results

Place School Final Score
1st Place Martin Luther King High School (Philadelphia) 76
2nd Place Red Lion High School 63
3rd Place McDowell High School 60
4th Place Souderton Area High School (Montgomery) 56
5th Place General McLane High School 51
6th Place Brashear High School 44


Individual Event Results

100 Meter Dash
Year in School First Name Final Time Place 
Freshman Denim Morris    
Senior Ojay Harris 15.97 1
Senior Dandre Young-Connor 17.93  
Sophomore Isaiah Collins 13.82 2
Sophomore Nagid Sawyer 12.78 1
Sophomore Augustus Hill Jr 14.14  
Sophomore Malik Jones    
Junior Jalen Williams 11.88 1
400 Meter Race
Year in School First Name Final Time Place 
Sophomore Precious Ford 01:21.7 1
Junior Maurice Griffin 1:29.94  
Sophomore India Grierson 1:28.60  
Sophomore Zhaire Harris-White 1:16.07  
Junior Jasir Newsome 1:01.41 1
800 Meter Race

Junior, Shaheed Cooper, 2:24.89, 2nd Place

Shot Put
Year in School First Name Best Put Place
Senior Dandre Young-Connor 21 1
Junior Shaheed Cooper 27.5 1
Sophomore Augustus Hill Jr 32.4 1
Senior Ojay Harris 46.6 1
Mini JAv
Year in School First Name Best Throw Place
Sophomore Zhaire Harris-White 29.9 1
Sophomore India Grierson 32.11 3
Junior Maurice Griffin 40.6 2
Sophomore Precious Ford 42.6 1
Junior Jasir Newsome 29.1  
Junior Jalen Williams 43.11  
Sophomore Isaiah Collins 71.11 1
Sophomore Nagid Sawyer 74.11 2


4×100 Meter Relay
Jasir Newsome (Junior), Maurice Griffin (Junior), Isaiah Collins (Sophomore), Nagid Sawyer (Sophomore) 54.61 1st Place



Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia’s 2018 Unified Track & Field Championship was held on Monday, May 7, 2018, at the South Philadelphia Supersite. It was the perfect day to celebrate our athletes, partners and coaches and all the hard work they put on during the 2018 IUS Track & Field season. Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia Director, Chase Trimmer, kicked things off by welcoming everyone to the event and announcing the winning school would get a chance to compete at the PIAA Track and Field Championship in Shippensburg, PA. After some welcoming remarks, the five schools entered through the parade of athletes. Schools participating in the second annual Philadelphia Unified Track & Field Championship included George Washington High School. Hill Freedman, Martin Luther King High School, Northeast High School and host South Philadelphia High School. Special Olympics PA Board Member, Tony Gillespie joined us for the day and offered luck to all athletes and partners competing. Margaret Lasseter and Tra Griffin from South Philadelphia then lead the athletes and partners in the Special Olympics athlete oath of “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt. Following the athlete oath, Coach Regina Johnson from Martin Luther King High School lead the coaches in the Coaches Oath of “I promise that we shall, take part in these Special Olympics games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them. In the true spirit of sportsmanship. For the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.” After Margaret and Tra came back up to officially declare the Unified Track and Field Championship open, the crowd erupted in applause and athletes and partners got ready to compete.

The 100-meter dash kicked off the Championship. As athletes raced down the track, South Philadelphia’s cheerleading squad was there to cheer them onto strong finishes. The 100-meter dash was followed by the 400-meter race and the 800-meter race which showcased the long distance runners of each school. After these track events, athletes split up to participate in one of three field events – long jump, mini javelin, or shotput. Each field event saw some great jumps and throws by both athletes and partners alike, with some creating a new personal record for themselves. 


Individual Results

School Key:

GW – George Washington High School, HF – Hill Freedman, MLK – Martin Luther King High School, NE – Northeast High School, SP – South Philadelphia High School

100 Meter Dash
School A/P Name Time Place
SP Partner Tracesaan Griffin 12.06 1
HF Partner Darius Hunter-McLean 14.28 3
NE Partner Fransico Correia 13.41 2
HF Partner Kayla Marshall 14.78 6
HF Athlete Tahlik Moon 12.12 1
HF Partner Justice Saunders 14 5
NE Partner Pedro Alicea 12.2 2
HF   Keith Jones 12.53 3
NE Partner Caio Desouza 12.17 4
SP Partner Vaten Pridgen 13.8 3
GW Athlete Ryan Caldwell 14.91 4
HF Partner Aniya Gentles 13.79 2
SP Athlete Nasir Martin 13.63 1
GW Athlete Joseph McGinley 14.91 4
GW Athlete Johnathan Aguliera 15.46 3
MLK Athlete Semaj Glover 13.69 2
SP Athlete Maragret Lassiter 15.63 4
NE Partner Andra Silva 12.37 1
NE Athlete Samirah Stevens 15.5 1
HF Partner Destiny Goldmas 15.79 2
MLK Athlete Ludiner Chery 17.29 3
GW Athlete Aaron Wilson 16.16 1
MLK Athlete Dandre Young-Conner 19.66 5
NE Athlete Maria Trinidad 16.28 3
GW Athlete Nicholas Delgado 16.2 2
NE Athlete Alysha Hawkins 17.54 4
GW Athlete Kassim Rollerson 19.13 5
GW Athlete Brandon Taylor 17.07 2
GW Athlete Jordan Scott 17.85 4
MLK Athlete Ojay Harris 15.79 1
GW Athlete Dominic Maffei 17.72 3
GW Athlete Anthony Le 21.28 6
GW Athlete Oluwasegen Sodeke 21.28 3
GW Athlete Zachary Zimri 20.16 2
HF Partner Jihara Richardson 16.78 1
NE Athlete Karen Luong 25.9 5
NE Athlete John Zhen 22.34 4
HF Athlete Khyree Scott 29.72 3
NE Athlete Chris Chandler 21.91 1
NE Athlete Savanah Ayala 22.12 2
NE Athlete Adam Loai 30.63 4
NE Athlete Falu Anthony 32.37 5
GW Athlete Mitchell Cafolla 41.43 6


400 Meter Run
School A/P Name Time Place
MLK Athlete Jasir Newsome 1:02 2
SP Partner Ibrahim Cisse-Karamoko 1:00 1
MLK Partner Thomas Bell 1:05.22 1
HF Athlete Russell Shelton 1:08 3
HF Partner Ariel Odom 1:19.00 4
SP Athlete Reggie Blanton 1:06.78 2
GW Athlete Peter Pulukchu 1:17.28 2
GW Athlete Ronald Pierre 1:24.63 3
GW Athlete Faheem Rucker 1:16.15 1
HF Partner Jasmine Addison 1:28.72 4
GW Athlete Kwesi Quainoo 1:08.34 1
MLK Athlete Zhaire Harris White 1:16.00 4
GW Athlete Juan Espinosa 1:08.38 2
MLK Partner Nagid Sawyer 1:13.28 3
MLK Athlete Maurice Griffin 1:18.81 1
HF Partner Christian Moreno 1:22.97 3
HF Athlete Laurance Warner 1:20.34 2
MLK Athlete India Grierson 1:31.50 4
HF Athlete Iyana Sipes 1:31.84 2
GW Athlete Leyla Kamilova 1:43.06 3
MLK Partner Taylor Calloway 1:29.50 1
GW Athlete Elizabeth Vicario 1:43.66 1
SP Athlete Joseph Polizzi 2:28.43 4
NE Athlete Uwase Mutoni 1:45.32 2
GW Athlete Daika Douze 2:00.00 3
MLK Athlete Trevor Thompson 3:10.00 6
NE Athlete Samuel Godoi 3:08.85 5


800 Meter Race
School A/P Name Time Place
SP Partner Arisode Intwali 2:24.86 1
NE Athlete Isais Aponte 3:22.42 1
MLK Athlete Precious Ford 3:40.60 3
SP Athlete Charles Galvani 3:36.76 2


4×100 Relay
Teams Time Place
GW 2 1:06.50 4
GW 1 1:03.97 3
SP 1 :58.34 1
HF 1 1:01.75 2
MLK 1 (Boys) 1:07.91 2
HF 2 1:08.34 3
NE 1 1:07.50 1


4×400 Relay
Team Times Place
GW 1 4:38.41 1
MLK 1 5:26.90 3
SP 1 4:56.41 2
NE 1 5:40.03 4


Long Jump
School A/P Name 1st Attempt 2nd Attempt 3rd Attempt Place
GW Athlete Joseph McGinley 6′ 4.5″ 4′ 8″ F 2
SP Partner Abudullah Ali 7′ 11″ 7′ 7′ 4″ 1
GW Athlete Peter Pulukchu F 10′ 9.5″ 9′ 2″ 2
GW Athlete Faheem Rucker F 10′ 10″ 11′ 1.5″ 1
HF Partner Kayla Marshall 9′ 9.5″ 10′ 2″ 9′ 4″ 3
GW Athlete Juan Espinosa 9′ 9″ 11′ 7″ 12′ 4″ 3
MLK Partner Taylor Calloway 7′ 11″ 8′ F 4
GW Athlete Kwesi Quainoo 13′ 3″ 14′ 14′ 9″ 2
MLK Partner Thomas Bell 14′ 15′ 3″ 14′ 7.5″ 1


Mini Javelin
School A/P Name 1st Attempt 2nd Attempt 3rd Attempt Place
GW Partner Mitchell Cafolla F 4′ 6″ F 5
GW Partner Anthony Le 6′ 6″ F 17′ 3″ 2
HF Athlete Khyree Scott 9′ 8″ 7′ 10″ 5′ 8″ 3
GW Partner Oluwasegen Sodeke F 8′ 11″ 8′ 5″ 4
NE Partner Matisse Barrett 20′ 11″ 24′ 8″ 26′ 5″ 1
MLK Athlete Zhaire Harris White 22′ 4″ 20′ 4″ 15′ 4″ 3
GW Partner Jordan Scott F 32′ 11″ 21′ 4″ 1
MLK Athlete Trevor Thompson F 23′ 5″ 23′ 7″ 2
NE Athlete John Zhen 11′ 8″ 15′ 3″ F 4
MLK Athlete India Grerson 23′ 9″ F 10′ 2″ 2
HF Athlete Laurance Warner 22′ 7″ 22′ 4″ F 3
HF Partner Sammy Donnie 26′ 7″ 28′ 7″ 21′ 2″ 1
HF Athlete Tahlik Moon 54′ 3″ 39′ 8″ 44′ 10″ 1
SP Athlete Alvin 34′ 7″ 23′ 2″ F 2
GW Athlete Ronald Pierre 19′ 8″ F F 4
GW Athlete Kassim Rollerson 22.7″ 23′ 11″ 24′ 11″ 3
MLK Athlete Maurice Griffin F F F P
GW Athlete Aaron Wilson 28′ 7″ 21′ 6″ 23′ 6″ 3
GW Partner Tiffany Sourovelis 19′ 9″ 18′ 5″ 21′ 4″ 4
MLK Athlete Precious Ford 24′ 11″ 34′ 11″ 27′ 4″ 1
GW Athlete Leyla Kamilova 32′ 8″ 29′ 6″ 27′ 4″ 2
SP Athlete Antonio Burnett 22′ 4″ 36′ 10″ 39′ 11″ 4
GW Partner Yesenia Lebron F 44′ 5″ 41′ 10″ 3
MLK Athlete Jasir Newsome 25′ 9″ 24′ 7″ 36′ 9″ 5
HF Partner Christian Moreno 58′ 7″ 60′ 7″ 63′ 5″ 1
HF Partner Justice Saunders F 50′ 3″ 47′ 10″ 2
MLK Athlete Semaj Glover 27′ 11″ F F 4
HF Partner Destiny Goldmas 37′ 7″ 46′ 10″ 32′ 4″ 3
SP Athlete Andre Thach 40′ 7″ 34′ 1″ 56′ 3″ 1
GW Athlete Johnathan Aguliera 38′ 9″ 53′ 11″ 54′ 3″ 2
HF Athlete Mike Ellis 58′ 7″ F 73′ 5″ 1
NE Athlete Jordan Ganges 57′ 9″ 29′ 6″ 41′ 3
MLK Partner Isaiah Collins 69′ 5″ 57′ 5″ 60′ 6″ 2
NE Partner Fransico Correia 70′ 8″ 74′ 9″ 74′ 2″ 2
HF   Keith Jones F 57′ 6″ 51′ 5″ 4
NE Partner Andra Silva 57′  F 70′ 3″ 3
MLK Partner Nagid Sawyer 47′ 1″ 78′ 2″ 66′ 3″ 1


School A/P Name 1st Attempt 2nd Attempt 3rd Attempt Place
HF Athlete Mark Robbins 5′ 11″ 5′ 10″ 5′ 3″ 4
NE Athlete Chris Chandler 7′ 1″ 8′ 1″ 7′  3
GW Athlete Brandon Taylor 7′ 7″ 9′ 11″ 11′ 11″ 2
GW Athlete Elizabeth Vicario 12′ 1″ 14′  15′ 5″ 1
GW Partner Dominic Maffei 13′ 9″ 12′ 9″ 12′ 5″ 5
NE Athlete Adam Loai 14′ 3″ F 15′ 10″ 3
NE Athlete Samirah Stevens 15′ 11″ 15′ 9″ 15′ 8″ 2
MLK Athlete Ludiner Chery 20′  18′ 11″ 19′ 3″ 1
HF Partner Jihara Richardson 14′ 7″ 14′ 6″ 14′ 11 ‘ 4
HF Athlete Sean Washington 17′  17′ 1″ 21′ 1″ 3
MLK Athlete Dandre Young-Conner 16′ 5″ 18′ 11″ 18′ 5″ 5
HF Partner Aniya Gentles 16′  17′ 5″ 21′ 4″ 2
GW Athlete Zachary Zimri 18′ 5″ 19′ 2″ 17′ 6″ 4
GW Athlete Nicholas Delgado 23′ 4″ 22′ 1″ 21′ 3″ 1
HF Partner Eiyreana Alford 19′ 9″ 22′  21′ 4″ 3
NE Athlete Isais Aponte 21′  22′  22′ 1″ 4
SP Athlete Matthew Webb 22′ 2″ 24′  20′ 3″ 2
MLK Athlete OJ Harris 45′ 10″ 43′ 9″ 43′ 5″ 1
HF Athlete Mikhale Chisolm Brown 33′ 1″ 28′ 7″ 33′ 11″ 4
SP Partner Arturo Jimenez 36′ 7″ 37′ 6″ 36′ 8″ 3
NE Partner Caio Desouza 37′ 5″ 34′ 7″ 37′ 9″ 2
HF Partner Darius Hunter-McLean 43′ 4″ 44′ 9″ 45′ 8″ 1


The 2018 Philadelphia Spring Games was held on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at William Penn Charter School. Athletes from Philadelphia and surrounding counties competed in athletics (track & field), basketball, and tennis. To kick off the day, athlete Raymond Anderson and John Boruk welcomed the crowd during the Opening Ceremonies. Frankford High School JROTC lead by Cadet Juvian Lopez and the West Powelton Drumline lead the Parade of Athletes  which welcomed Montgomery County’s Track Team, Philadelphia Track Team, Delaware County Tennis Team, Philadelphia Tennis Team; and basketball teams: Chester Alex Avengers A, Chester Alex Avengers B, Chester Alex Avengers C, Philly All-Stars, Philly Bandits, Philly Dreamers, Philly Hoops, Philly Huskies, Philly Phlash, Philly Rebels, Philly Rebounders, Philly Warriors, Philly Wildcats I and Philly Wildcats II. After all the athletes took their seats, Frankford High School’s JROTC presented the colors and Denine Aversa, the mother of a South Philadelphia athlete, sang that National Anthem. New Special Olympics PA – Philalephia Director, Chase Trimmer, and Special Olympics PA President and CEO, Matthew Aaron, then gave welcoming remarks and wished athletes the best of luck as they competed later in the day. After welcoming remarks, Athlete Leadership Chair, Teddy Angerman welcomed everyone and introduced the rest of the Philadelphia Athlete Leadership Team. Victoria Amaradio, an athlete from South Philadelphia, lead all athletes in the Athlete Oath prior to the highlight of the Ceremonies – the lighting of the cauldron. 

Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson of the Philadelphia Police Department, Cheif Dave Duffy of the Upper Gwynedd Police Department and men, women, and Police Explorers from Philadelphia and surrounding law enforcement agencies along with PECO employees, started their day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the Flame of Hope started its journey for the day. The Law Enforcement Torch Run ran 6 miles from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to William Penn Charter to bring the Flame of Hope to Opening Ceremonies to light the cauldron. As the Law Enforcement Torch Run got to William Penn Charter, they joined special guest Bernard Hopkins and Philadelphia athletes for the final leg. As the Flame of Hope came down the track and light the cauldron, everyone cheered and the 41st annual Philadelphia Spring Games officially came to a start!

Athlete then headed to their respective venues on campus to compete. Throughout the day, spectators and coaches saw great competition and sportsmanship between the athletes. After competition, athlete were awarded medals and ribbons based on their order of finish. 

After Opening Ceremonies, Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia hosted their first every Unified Shot-put Experience where athletes got together with VIP guests to compete in the sport of shot-put. Athletes from Philadelphia who took part in this experience included Raymond Anderson, Eddie Glover, Jackie Lutts, Teddy Angerman, Sadika Smith. Athletes from Montgomery County included Robert Decker, Chip Tamagni, and Lauren Otterbein. Partners included Philadelphia Charity Ball Board members Jay Devine, Peter Cooke, and Colleen Holt-McCauley; Executive Advisory Board members Ernie Holtzheimer, Robert Croft, and Brian Monihan; Alex McConathey, and Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. Every participant threw the shot-put twice, with their best score counting. Scores were calculated by adding each pair’s (an athlete and a partner) top throw together. In the end, Ernie Holtzheimer and Michael won with the overall high score.

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Wildcats I – 1st Place

Wildcats II – 3rd Place



To view all photos, click here.

Thank you to our 2018 Philadelphia Spring Games Sponsors!




After a weather postponement, Unified Bocce teams from George Washington High School and Hill-Freedman World Academy made their way to Camp Hill, PA on Friday, March 23 for the 2018 Interscholastic Unified Indoor Bocce State Championship. Both teams qualified for the championship after placing first in their respective divisions in the Philadelphia City Championship earlier in the season. This year, eleven high school teams advanced from seven regions of the state.  Like Geroge Washington and Hill-Freedman, each school earned a spot in this event by winning their county or city championships. Our two Philadelphia teams joined the Rochester Rams and Central Valley Warriors who represented Beaver, the Upper Dauphin Trojans who represented Dauphin, the Haverford Fords who represented Delaware, the Grove City Eagles and West Middlesex Big Reds who represented Mercer, North Penn Knights who represented Montgomery, and the North Penn Liberty Mounties who represented Tioga counties. 

During the Opening Ceremony, Mike Handleman, joined the head coach from North Penn Liberty High School, Carissa Flook, to lead the coaches in the Special Olympics Coaches Oath. Right before the Games were declared open, John Gombocz, Special Education Advisor for the PA Dept. of Education took to a bocce court to roll out our first ceremonial ball. George Washington and Hill-Freedman faced off each other in the first game with George Washington taking the win with a score of 12-2. In the next game, George Washington faced North Penn High School and lost 3-7. Hill-Freedman went up against West Middlesex High School and lost 4-11. The last round would determine where teams would end up on the podium. George Washington faced North Penn Liberty in hopes to make it to the podium with a bronze medal. Unfortunate, Geroge Washington lost in the last frame with the final score being 5-7. On the other side of the arena, Hill Freedman played Haverford High School for 7th place and ended up losing 2-10. In the end, Hill-Freedman walked away with the eighth place ribbon and Geroge Washington walked away with the fourth place ribbon. Congratulations to both schools, the athletes, partners and coaches on all of your hard work and making it to the state championships. You all truly live out the vision of Unified.

George Washington Eagles Hill-Freedman High School
Alyssa Henry, Senior
Kaitlyn Pemper, Senior
Karen Hua, Senior
Faheem Rucker, Junior
Nikolas Feaster, Junior
Isaiah Jackson, Junior
Perla Ayala, Sophomore
Ivri McDaniel, Sophomore
Yvonne Schwiker, Coach
Lori Solomon, Coach
Conrad Edwards, Senior
Sean Washington, Senior
Laurance Warner, Senior
Mark Robbins, Senior
Justice Saunders, Junior
Justin Berry, Junior
Anniya Gentles, Freshman
Jibard Richardson, Freshman
Mike Handelman, Coach
Joseph Moore, Coach



For all photos from the event from Photography by Dane, click here.

Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia held its 1st Philadelphia Gymnastics Meet on March 10, 2018, at Temple University’s Pearson-McGonigle Hall. Gymnasts from Bethlehem, Lebanon, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties compete in Rhythmic, Men’s Artistic, and Women’s Artistic gymnastics. Rhythmic Gymnastics consists of four different floor exercises including a rope routine, hoop routine, ball or clubs routine and a ribbon routine. Women’s Artistic Gymnastics events include bars, beam, floor, and vault. Men’s Artistic Gymnastics includes floor, vault, high bar, rings, parallel bar, and pommel horse.  It was an exciting day of competition that started with an Opening Ceremony. After the Parade of Athlete, Philadelphia County athlete, Megan Murphy, sang the national anthem, Matthew Aaron, President and CEO of Special Olympics PA, and Umme Salim-Beasley, Temple University Women’s Gymnastics head coach offered words of wisdom and wished the athletes luck in this first annual meet. Prior to the official opening of competition, Hanna Gremo, Montgomery County athlete and USA Games team member,  carried in the Flame of Hope. NCAA Athletes from Temple University’s Women’s and Men’s gymnastics program served as volunteers and judges and were enthusiastic supporters of the over 60 Special Olympics athletes who participated. Congratulations to all athletes! 


Photo Credit: Rick Mankin

Click here for all photos by Rick Mankin


Level C

23 & Under

  1. Kylie Diaz (Bethlehem)

24 – 29

  1. Nina Garcia (Montgomery)
  2. Mary Nolan (Montgomery)
  3. Helen Spiewak (Montgomery)

30 +

  1. Kim Frain (Bethlehem)
  2. Heather Gold (Bethlehem)
  3. Jaclyn Bothwell (Montgomery)
Level 1
  1. Kathleen Dezubay (Bethlehem)
  2. Amanda Reiss (Bethlehem)
  3. Dedra Sobol (Bethlehem)
Level 2
  1. Brittany Thayer (Bethlehem)


Men’s Artistic 
Level 1

9 & Under

  1. Daniel Eichberg (Montgomery) 
  2. Sai Vellapalem
  3. Elijah Millington (Bethlehem) 


  1. Chase Rummel (Lebanon)
  2. Ben Greenwood (Montgomery)


  1. Jeremy DeBrest (Philadelphia)
  2. David Norris (Philadelphia)


  1. Shawn Moton (Philadelphia)
  2. Michael Paulinski (Montgomery)
  3. Ryan Taylor (Montgomery)
  4. Brian Smith (Bethlehem)
Level 2

14 & Under

  1. Anthony Skirzenski (Lebanon)
  2. Luke Jones (Philadelphia)
  3. Aaron Arnold (Montgomery)

15 +

  1. Joseph Polizzi (Montgomery)
Level 3
  1. Christian White (Montgomery)


Women’s Artistic
Level 1

13 & Under

  1. Kyrie Troche (Bethlehem)
  2. Vanessa Bonowitz (Montgomery)
  3. Sarah Drinen  (Philadelphia) 

14 – 15

  1. Amerie Aldridge (Montgomery)
  2. Sara Mills (Montgomery)
  3. Gigi Accooe  (Philadelphia)
  4. Jasmin Marin (Philadelphia) 
Level 2

18 & Under

  1. Hanna Gremo* (Montgomery)
  2. Abigail Woodling (Montgomery)
  3. Amber Sobiesiak (Lebanon)


  1. Zarrah Vitale (Bethlehem)
  2. Danielle Ditzler (Lebanon)
  3. Aubrey Tillman  (Philadelphia) 
Level 3
  1. Megan Murphy  (Philadelphia)
  2. Danielle Dixon (Bethlehem)
  3. Shannon Delmar (Montgomery)
  4. Kara Devlin (Montgomery)


*USA Games Athlete


Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia held their 33rd Annual Leprechaun Run presented by TMNA Services on Saturday, March 10th at Schuylkill Banks Palapa. It was a chilly morning – starting around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, making it feel like a winter day rather than an almost-spring day. Over 700 participants participated in either the Lucky 7-Mile Race, Classic 5-Mile Race, or 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. The event opened with welcoming remarks from the co-emcees athlete, Emmett Abdo and Today’s 96.5 host, Bennett, along with a performance by Celtic Flame School of Irish Dance. Before the race kicked off, Abdo led the crowd in the athlete oath of, “Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Participants were then on their way to complete one of the first races of the season. As participants finished, they munched on snacks and waited for the results. 

Before the event, the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) hosted their annual Pre-Leprechaun Run Happy Hour on Thursday, March 8th at Fette Sau in Fishtown. The warm and welcoming atmosphere inside was the perfect contrast to the chilly March evening outside, which attracted a large number of Fishtown Runners as well as the general public. In no time, the restaurant was a full house. During the event, participants/ enjoyed extended happy hour specials ranging from a variety of craft beers and hard cider to smoked chicken legs and brisket sandwiches. Guests had the opportunity to enter some exciting raffles, including an autographed Nick Foles framed photograph, and try their luck at the inaugural “Beer Toss” thanks to donations from local vendors and YPC members!  As conversation centered on weekend plans and the upcoming Leprechaun Run, the attention was brought to the center of the bar when raffles were pulled. Overall, the event was a great success for YPC and Special Olympics Philadelphia. Thank you to all participants and donors!

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View all photos here



Click here to view results. Please note, the link takes you to the Lucky 7-Mile Race results. 

Thank you to our 2018 Leprechaun Run Sponsors!

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Special Olympics PA  – Philadelphia partnered with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) to host the first Med Buddies on Friday, March 9th! More than 50 Special Olympics Unified teammates were invited to spend the day at PCOM. Students in PCOM’s Advocate for Individuals with Disabilities (AID) class and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Special Olympics committee opened their campus to elementary school students from Juniata Park Academy, Universal Daroff Charter, and William H. Loesche, working alongside them in a morning filled with physical fitness, arts and crafts, and health and wellness activities.

MedBuddies paired two Unified teammates with a PCOM student which allowed the teammates to learn from their ‘medbuddy,’ while the students got to get a glimpse into what it is like to work with individuals with intellectual disabilities that Special Olympics serves in Philadelphia. They got to play basketball, run a relay race, make x-rays with construction paper and cotton swabs, and listen to one another’s hearts with a stethoscope. 

PCOM was an incredible host. The Special Olympics teammates were treated incredibly well. Special Olympics Philadelphia hopes to continue this event in the future as we continue to look to better serve the K to 5 population of the city. Click here to see the awesome video recap PCOM made! 

Photos of First Med Buddies


In the News

Students Welcome ‘Buddies’ from Special Olympics