Sports

Olean Area Communities Rally Together in Support of Unified Basketball Competition

83883ee4ba9067e4da42_Special_Olympics.jpg
Members of an Allegany-Limestone Elementary Unified Basketball team line up to take a shot as student coaches from St. Bonaventure University cheer them on in the background. Credits: Jessica Dillon
83883ee4ba9067e4da42_Special_Olympics.jpg

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — In a day dedicated to sweeping away misconceptions, 16 teams from five Olean area schools will partake in a day packed full of friendly competition, pep band tunes and celebratory award ceremonies this Friday.   

The Special Olympics Unified Basketball Competition, made possible through the efforts of countless community volunteers, donations from the Knights of Columbus, St. Bonaventure University's ENACTUS and Portville Central School's meal service and by sponsorships from local groups, will begin at 9 a.m. with the Trooper Ross M. Riley leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run.  

The memorial leg, spanning 3.1 miles, commemorates the life and legacy of Riley, a 17-year New York State police veteran who patrolled the Allegany area and died during a training exercise at Letchworth State Park in November 2013. Runners from local municipalities and St. Bonaventure University's ROTC program will weave through the streets of Olean, following law enforcement officials who will carry the Flame of Hope. The run will conclude in the Reilly Center Arena, just in time for the day's official opening ceremonies.  

Sign Up for E-News

The events are meant to celebrate the successes of those involved in the Unified Sports program, which provides an opportunity for students with and without intellectual disabilities to interact and compete in an athletic setting.  

"The whole idea is about inclusivity," Dr. Paula Scraba, an associate professor of physical education at St. Bonaventure who has been involved with the Special Olympics since 1975, said. "It’s become a really good experience for the student with the disability and the student without the disability to interact on a totally different level."  

Corinne Quinn, a Unified Basketball coach and special education teacher at Allegany-Limestone Elementary, said she's noticed the inclusivity firsthand.  

"It's great, honestly, to see the camaraderie among the students," Quinn said. "And we definitely wouldn't have been able to do this without the help of St. Bonaventure."  

Since January, students in two sections of Scraba's university forum classes have been helping to plan the event. From creating posters, making parking arrangements and coordinating volunteers to coaching the student athletes at Allegany-Limestone Central Schools, students in these classes have dedicated hours of their time to ensuring the event runs smoothly.  

"We would not be able to do this if it wasn’t for the students," Scraba said. "To choose this section of senior forum says something about them, that they’re willing to put into practice what they’ve been sitting behind a desk for for the last four years. There’s no way I’d be able to do this without athletics and administration and the little people behind the scenes like maintenance and ROTC. It’s a great community builder and something that people can relate to that they want to be part of." 

The community building will be helped along by the Allegany-Limestone Pep Band, by the daughters of Riley (one of whom will be joining an Olean High School student to sing the national anthem) and by more than 50 student volunteers from the Allegany-Limestone and Olean school districts alone.

"We're so excited," said Alicia Bockmier, Committee on Special Education chairperson for Allegany-Limestone Elementary. "Go Gators!"  

All are invited to watch the competition and to cheer on the athletes as they compete in four rounds of play. The day's festivities will conclude with an awards ceremony at 1 p.m. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

Understanding the Tough Times at The Buffalo News Can Lead to Brighter Future for the Newspaper 

Given the fiscal state of the news industry, the changes underway at The Buffalo News are not unique. To offset revenue losses, newspapers across the nation have bid farewell to longtime reporters, eliminated once-popular sections and removed jobs that involved covering important beats, such as education, the environment and transportation. 

What makes the ...

Grandpa Practiced Sustainability

My grandpa was of the Depression Era. Sustainability wasn’t “a thing” back then — it was just the way you lived. Though he was raised in a time when you were thankful to be able to put a good meal on the table, he likely had a standard of life that we would consider average or middle class today. He didn’t grow up in a slum or shanty town, but he did understand the ...

'March for Our Lives' Started A Historic Movement

Shoes on the ground. People chanting. Signs held high. Music playing in the background.

It is the start of a historic movement. A moment when every race, gender and age came together as one. A movement that involved change and a March for Our Lives.

As a student journalist going out to the world, taking part in a national movement truly moved me. Reporting the significance of March for ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Local History Research Sessions

Education

Mon, June 25, 6:00 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Braiding a Wrist Distaff

Home & Garden

Tue, June 26, 6:00 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Pride Month Film Series: 'Victor/Victoria'

Arts & Entertainment

Keenan Honored by Olean City School District Foundation

June 19, 2018

OLEAN, NY -- The name of Kevin A. Keenan, founding partner and president of Keenan Communications Group, was placed on the Olean City School District Foundation Wall of Honor on June 15 in a ceremony in Olean High School Auditorium.

According to the foundation, the Wall of Honor “recognizes individuals whose lives, accomplishments, and endeavors reflect the values and tradition of ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...