One of Jesuit High School's most cherished traditions is the Dads' Club's annual participation in the Special Olympics each spring, which dates back to the roots of Special Olympics Florida: On June 3, 1972, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (the founder of the Special Olympics) and Gov. Reubin Askew came to Jesuit, and, along with Tampa mayor Dick Greco, they lit the Olympic Torch as Jesuit hosted the first statewide Special Olympics. Jesuit is proud to have been a part of the establishment of the Special Olympics in Florida, and for decades, the Dads' Club, along with Jesuit student volunteers, has been essential to the overall success of the Special Olympics in Tampa.
After years at the University of South Florida, in 2016 the regional Special Olympics were brought back to Jesuit by the Dads' Club, and have been held here each year since. After a one-year hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Special Olympics returned in 2021 and the following year, 2022, marked an incredible milestone: 50 years of the Special Olympics in Florida. Once again the Dads' Club hosted an amazing event.
The 2023 Special Olympics at Jesuit, the Hillsborough & Pinellas Summer Games, kicked off as it does every year with Special Olympics athlete and global messenger Thomas Shervington giving an inspirational message to the Jesuit student body at Convocation a few days before the event. On March 25, 2023, Jesuit celebrated the 51st Special Olympics with an amazing day, as more than 600 athletes and some 350 volunteers came together on campus for a phenomenal event. View below a photo slideshow from the 2023 Special Olympics at Jesuit.
HISTORY OF THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AT JESUIT
2022: Jesuit celebrated the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics in Florida, and of the Dads' Club's year-round involvement with the event, with a spectacular Special Olympics at Jesuit.
2021: After a one-year hiatus, the Special Olympics returned to Jesuit on March 27, 2021. The Games were back with gusto and camaraderie, as hundreds of Special Olympics athletes, along with scores of Dads' Club and Jesuit student volunteers, enjoyed an amazing day of competition throughout the Jesuit campus.
2020: Cancelled due to COVID-19.
2019: On April 6, the Jesuit Dads' Club hosted the Special Olympics Florida Area VIII Summer Games (for Hillsborough, Polk, and Highland County athletes) for the 4th consecutive year at Jesuit High School! Click here to read all about this phenomenal event that featured 950 athletes and coaches, as well as hundreds of Dads' Club and Jesuit student volunteers. Local Special Olympics athlete Robert Moore, who recently won a gold medal and two silvers at the World Games in Dubai, served as the Grand Marshal.
2018: In the spring of 2018, the Dads' Club hosted the Special Olympics at Jesuit for the 3rd straight year. The Special Olympics Florida 2018 Area VIII Summer Games at Jesuit on March 24, 2018 were once again a spectacular success. Click here for the full story, and click here for a phenomenal photo slideshow from this amazing event. Special Olympics athlete and global messenger Thomas Shervington spoke to the Jesuit student body at Convocation a few weeks prior to the event. Click here to view Shervington's presentation.
2017: The Special Olympics Florida 2017 Area VIII Summer Games were a smash hit at Jesuit High School on March 25 in their second year on campus. Under the leadership and direction of the Jesuit Dads' Club, the games went off smoothly and successfully, with hundreds of athletes, supported by an army of volunteers, enjoying the competition. Click here for a story, click here for a news segment by Sara Belsole of Bay News 9, and click here for a photo slideshow.
2016: The Special Olympics Florida 2016 Area VIII Summer Games had added significance as it was held right here at Jesuit High School on March 18 after many years of being hosted by the Jesuit Dads' Club at the University of South Florida. Despite rainy conditions resulting in the cancellation of some of the final competitions in the afternoon, the event was a tremendous success. A year of exhaustive planning culminated in hundreds of athletes, volunteers, and spectators coming together on a beautiful morning. Click here for a photo slideshow, media coverage, and a story about Special Olympics 2016 at Jesuit.
1972: Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics, and Gov. Reubin Askew came to Jesuit High School, and, along with Tampa mayor Dick Greco, on June 3, 1972. They lit the Olympic Torch as Jesuit hosted the first statewide Special Olympics!