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Voices of Diversity: Linn Mar Adaptive Athletes

Updated: Thursday, February 6 2014, 08:35 PM CST
MARION, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Helping athletes achieve their potential is the focus of a specialized gym class at Linn Mar High School. It’s a class that's the passion of Physical Education teacher, Ginger Halverson.

When Halverson’s athletes hit the gym, they’re focused on one thing, their abilities. It's a mantra that's helped each of them achieve success. While the students each have varying levels of special needs, it just takes a few moments of watching the class to see that they’ve achieved victory together. As one athlete makes a shot, another comes to embrace him. It’s a supportive dynamic that’s pushed the students to reach their potential.

 They just totally light up!” Jody Slife, whose son, Kody, is in the Adaptive PE Class said.

While his class starts at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, Kody doesn’t mind.

“It wakes you up, and gets you active, and you're ready to go!” Kody said.

When the students play basketball they use a dodge ball and skip dribbling. It’s part of adapting the sport to the athlete.

“He's grown so much in the last four years, and I'll attribute a lot of that to Mrs. Ginger,” Jody Slife said.

Halverson is at the center of it all. She’s playing in each game with the students and running up and down the court cheering them on.

“She's amazing, she's a really good coach!” Kody said.

 “Ginger knows what she's doing,” Student, Shawn Sherwood added.

For Ginger, it’s her passion working with the adaptive athletes.

“Any way we can get a student to participate, we're going to do it!” Halverson said.

The class also works to prepare students for the Special Olympics. This year, more than 20 of them attended the games in Dubuque.

“It was just blowing snow and I was just trying to keep my balance, and I was ready to slip, and I said, I can do this, go all the way, and I did and I got two gold medals!” Kody said.

Kody found his Olympic specialty in cross country skiing. Other athletes downhill ski or even snowshoe.

“I am so, so, so proud of him, of all of them!” Jody said.

The athletes said their accomplishments are made possible because of Halverson and the associates who volunteer during the class. It’s their example that helps the athletes fight to be their best.

“They're pretty ruthless at trying to do what they do. I mean, I can be pretty ruthless too, but they just think they're in the battlefield!” Sherwood said of the competitive nature of the class. 

“The best thing that I love about Special Olympics with my team at with my class is the support that each student gives each other,” Halverson added. 
Voices of Diversity: Linn Mar Adaptive Athletes

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