Athlete Spotlight- Kevin Hendricks

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Kevin Hendricks getting a fast PR as he crosses the finish line.

Ellison Downey

 

Heritage High School offers a unique program, called Unified Sports, where students with different disabilities are able to participate in a variety of sports alongside typical peers.  Students from all different grades and backgrounds have begun to participate in inclusive sports at Heritage, not only to gain new experiences, but to grow closer to the people participating.

 

“I think inclusive sports are very important because they help students no matter their background get involved and feel included in their school.” says Ellie O’dell, a sophomore here at Heritage. 

 

O’dell began running track with Kevin Hendricks during the winter season, and has enjoyed getting to know him. Kevin is a student in the Special Education Program at Heritage, and started running track after his PE teacher recognized his aptitude for running.  Kevin’s parents shared that Kevin “really seemed to enjoy running during his daily PE class”, so they decided track would be a perfect place for Kevin to thrive.  As soon as he joined the Unified program, it was confirmed that the track was Kevin’s place to be.

 

On January 13th, Kevin was able to run the 1600 meter race during a track meet at Park View, and everyone that was there would agree what an amazing experience it was.  While he raced, Kevin’s smile was contagious, spreading to all the people cheering around him. Among those people, Kevin’s parents were the most emotional in the crowd. 

 

 “Being independent is one of Kevin’s daily struggles, as he requires constant guidance and reassurance.   It was so wonderful watching his teammates encourage him.” states Kevin’s dad, Fred Hendricks.

 

Kevin has continued to race throughout the season, and now has a speedy PR of a 7:20 1600 time.  Being a part of the Unified Sports program has made all the difference for Kevin, and has made just as much difference for his peers experiencing this journey with him, and all those who see his joy as he races.

 

For more information about the Unified Sports Program here at Heritage, including how to participate yourself, contact Ashley Kolbas at [email protected]