Rouse’s tradition of helping students with special needs continued earlier this month when the school's boys basketball team taught drills and scrimmaged with teams at the third annual skills clinic for Leander Lazers Special Olympics group at the high school gym on Saturday, Dec. 16.
“Some of the Raiders have done this for three years,” Kelly McMahan, an adapted physical education teacher and special olympics coach with LISD said. “They’re very comfortable. I tell them that I organize it and get the kids here and you guys make it fun. They’ve done that year after year."
The event came together in part because McMahan’s son plays for the Raiders and they were looking for an event that the basketball team could get involved with that’s more hands on than showing up to a track meet and working a station.
The group uses the clinic as a kickoff to their Special Olympics basketball season.
“It’s important to expose our guys to helping others,” Rouse head coach Shane Krause said. “Doing something for the community and giving kids opportunities they wouldn’t normally get. If all they get from our program is how to shoot a jump shot and play defense, then I haven’t done my job.”
Krause added that the Raiders have a chance to play more than 30 games this season, so it’s key to have other members of the LISD community get that team feeling though events like the basketball clinic.
“It’s important to give back to the community, and I feel like we’ve done a good job of just spending time with the kids,” Rouse senior guard Carter McMahan said.
Rouse has a history of helping students with special needs.
The Raiders’ football team connected with Layne Moffett, a senior that has cerebral palsy and autism. He ran for a touchdown during the spring game earlier this year and served as a captain throughout the season.
“It’s in the feeder schools here too, it’s a very inclusive mindset,” McMahan said.
“Students with special needs are involved from kindergarten in the general education environment. The students are comfortable around them and it has continued.”
As for the future of the event, McMahan said it gets easier to advertise now because of word of mouth. They want to keep it LISD focused since the numbers in the district and in the special education program are growing.
“It’s a big deal, and they’re more attentive to those boys than they are to us,” McMahan said. “It’s very positive. I saw kids today that shut down a lot during our practices that didn’t haven’t any difficulty. It’s someone closer to their own age that can be role model.”