ADA, MICH. - The three Forest Hills high school football teams helped seventy West Michigan Special Olympics athletes score on the gridiron on Saturday, Sept. 16 for Catch the Spirit Day.
For the third year in a row, players from the Forest Hills Central, Eastern and Northern came together for a good cause, said Chris Thomas, an Eastern High School special education teacher who organized the event.
"We're reaching out to help others," Thomas said. "We're helping others that have a disability...that have a dream to score a touchdown, to catch a ball, to be a cheerleader. But we get to do it, instead of as three schools, as one community. We're Forest Hills."
The Special Olympics Athletes feel like they're a part of Forest Hills football because of the event, said Sulari White, whose son Sanjai participated in the event.
"It's heartwarming." White said. "For a day, [they] feel just like any other young person playing football with everyone else. It's just an amazing opportunity."
Athletes ran passing, carrying, kicking and tackling drills before scoring touchdowns. Some cheered on the players with the Forest Hills cheerleading squads.
"It's really a fun time seeing their faces when they score a touchdown," said Brandon Matthews, a junior running back at Northern. "They're really happy and joyful. It's a great time."
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