Tree planting honors Special Olympics team at Park Junior High

Inclement weather didn’t dampen the celebration Friday as the Mighty Patriots basketball team at Park Junior High was honored as part of Arbor Day observances.

The village of La Grange Park honored the Special Olympics basketball team with a tree planted in front of the school, though the presentation and speeches were moved indoors due to rainy weather. Park is one of a few area schools with a special education team, said coach Geri Pasieka.

“It’s not easy putting yourself out there with not quite knowing how your peers and general education students will react to you,” Pasieka told the players. “It takes true courage to change a whole student body’s attitude on how special education is viewed. It takes beyond bravery to lay those developing skills on the line for all to see.”

Pasieka said she nominated the team for the Arbor Day award because the team displays good sportsmanship, team spirit, kindness and an unstoppable attitude that went viral through the halls of the school.