Jets Special Olympics team nabs state championship
MADISON – A sports team at James Clemens High School exerted their special talents to win a state championship.
The James Clemens Jets, Special Olympics Team are Division 3 state champions. These special education students compiled a 14-1 season.
Jets team players are seniors David Brooks, Chris Pate, Chris Wessling and Michael Sledge; juniors Matthew Moxley, Ryan James, Jacob Sievers and Allen Clay; sophomores Corvelle Kennedy, Malik McClendon and Courtney Wesier; and freshman Henry Trammell.
Shannon Humphrey sponsors and coaches the team, along with teaching reading, math, personal social management and daily living skills. Justin Brown coached the group in on-court scrimmages.
At its April 4 meeting, Madison Board of Education congratulated the Jets team for its championship season. Smiles and true expressions of pride of joy beamed across the students’ faces as they came forward in the board room to receive their award certificates.
“The team has been around for many years (and) allows students with disabilities to participate in sports with other students at their same level,” Humphrey said. “The basketball team is a part of Special Olympics.”
To capture their championship, the Jets played teams from all regions of Alabama. Officials “divided the students up, based on the student’s abilities. The championship game was held in Montgomery. We played Shades Valley High School and won 41-22,” Humphrey said.
Each school day at James Clemens, Brown practiced with the team during their physical education time. During the season, the James Clemens Jets played Austin, Decatur, Brewer, Hartselle and Lee high schools, along with Huntsville Center for Technology.
The Jets players received a gold medal for competing on the state championship team. “However, I feel that just the opportunity to participate in a sport that they may not be able to participate in at the regular high school level helps them feel like they have accomplished something,” Humphrey said.
“They’re excited when parents, teachers and classmates come and watch. It gives them a sense of pride at what they are able to do,” Humphrey said.