PENNSAUKEN — On Saturday (Sept. 27), Bishop Eustace held its second annual Victory Day, a day when special needs students can come to the school and experience what it's like to be a part of a high school football game.
Eustace football coach Rob Cormier was excited for the kids coming to experience the day, as well as what the day does for his student athletes.
“When we put this thing together we wanted to do something outside of the normal community service that Bishop Eustace has," said Cormier. "We thought that it would create a chance for these guys to see special needs kids on a different level, to understand exactly what they’re going through, and just introduce them to something they normally aren’t exposed to. And they’ve just embraced it.”
During the day, boys and girls, ages 6-22, participated with the football team, the Eustace Pep Band, and the school's cheerleaders. It was truly a day for the kids to have a memorable experience.
The interactions between the Eustace students and the participants is touching. Witnessing the participants smile and celebrate as they scored a touchdown, kicking field goals, playing instruments, and cheerleading is something that stays with you, and it’s something that the Bishop Eustace players take pride in.
Senior Ryan Lange said after the day was over: “It was great. We had almost double what we had last year and (the kids) were loving it. The band was playing they were dancing. Regardless, if they were scoring a touchdown or not they were all having a great time. It’s great to see them smiling … it’s great to see the smiles on the kid’s faces and for us to be causing that it’s great, it’s awesome.”
One thing that is apparent throughout the day is the pure happiness that the parents were experiencing in the crowd. They were cheering for all the kids, taking pictures, and enjoying the beautiful weather. And, according to one of the parents, identified only as Mike, he was grateful for the way the Bishop Eustace students responded during the day.
“The high school students did a great job," the father. "Sometimes it can be challenging to deal with kids with special needs, but they all seemed really motivated. It was really a nice outpouring from the high school students.”
In a short two-hour time span, the smiles and joy on every kid's face from the moment their name was called by the public address announcer to receiving a medal on their neck was an inspiring sight. It was clear that the entire day was a rousing success.
Check out our photo gallery and video report, both of which are below, highlighting the day in Pennsauken.