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Buncombe County Special Olympics Local Coordinator, Greg Mace (Chief) was presented with a check in the amount of $1510.01 for Special Olympics Buncombe County athletes. The ceremony took place on Wednesday, October 24 at the Owen High School soccer game.
The check was made possible by a partnership between Owen High School (Owen), Asheville Christian Academy (ACA) and Special Olympics Buncombe County. Coaches Tate MacQueen (Owen) and Terry Hughes (ACA) initiated the first annual Sourwood Community Shield Challenge match; a soccer match between the two rival schools.
The purpose of this match is twofold. MacQueen and Hughes hope to build excitement in the community when the two teams compete AND they will use proceeds from gate receipts to benefit Special Olympics.
The first Sourwood Community Shield Challenge was held on October 4 at ACA. The winning team, Owen, received a unique trophy, a handcrafted bowl created by local artisan, David Ogren. This bowl will remain with the Owen soccer team for a year. The next Sourwood Community Shield Challenge winner will be presented the trophy bowl in 2013 and that winner will be in possession until the next year.
Meanwhile, the bowl serves as a functioning trophy and will continue to raise money for Special Olympics. The school in possession of the bowl is responsible for passing it around at home matches for contributions that will go to Special Olympics.
Not only was Buncombe County Special Olympics presented with a check for more than $1500, the trophy bowl was passed after the presentation and over $300 was collected!
But the contributions didn't stop with funds for Special Olympics. On Saturday, October 27, soccer players and coaches from Owen and ACA put aside their on-field rivalry and hosted a Soccer Skills Clinic for Special Olympic athletes. The two and a half hour clinic took place at the Owen Warhorse Stadium. Current soccer players from ACA and Owen teamed up to teach soccer fundamentals to enthusiastic Special Olympic athletes.
Special Olympics Buncombe County thanks the coaches, players and fans for their generous gifts of time and money. This effort made by two competing schools has raised the awareness of the Swannanoa Valley to the needs of Special Olympics. Coaches MacQueen and Hughes hope that this model will serve as a springboard for other North Carolina schools. The goal, to quote Coach Tate MacQueen is “to teach players how to be effective servants in the community and provide them with the opportunity to take on leadership responsibilities that benefit the entire community.”