Celebrated Athlete Will Smith Speaks with New Rochelle Special Olympians
New Rochelle, N.Y (Nov. 20, 2020) - A group of New Rochelle High School Special Olympics team members was thrilled this week when a celebrated athlete joined them for a Zoom call.
Will Smith, the 2019 New York State Special Olympics Athlete of the Year, told team members about what it has meant to him to be a part of the family of athletes for more than two decades.
“In high school, it helped me overcome my shyness and meet people,” he said.
It also has meant travel to distant locations. He traveled to Nagano, Japan, in 2005 for the Special Olympics World Winter Games, where the floor hockey team won gold. Two years later, he traveled to Shanghai, China, where the softball team earned a bronze medal. (Smith showed his bronze to the New Rochelle team.)
He spoke to 10 New Rochelle athletes plus two recent graduates who returned to visit the Zoom-based meeting.
“He competed in the world games – I think that’s awesome!” said Jacob Kuligowski, one of the recent graduates.
Smith told them he was a Special Olympian for 22 years.
“That’s a lot!” said student Takuto Igarashi.
Smith now works with Special Olympics New York as a Program/Development Specialist. He has represented the organization as a guest speaker at numerous events throughout the year.
“The best part was the many people that I had to awesome pleasure to meet across the world,” he said