Some 200 people filled the stands at Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 18 to cheer on 26 Grandville Public Schools students with cognitive and physical disabilities who were outfitted with either jerseys or cheering pompons for “Victory Day.” They were joined by 70 football players and cheerleaders, many of whom acted as mentors for the event.
Though not an actual football game, the group ran through the tunnel, scored touchdowns and performed field drills – complete with fans, coin toss, announcer, photography and national anthem as a regular game.
After the game, the students each received a medal to commemorate their victory.
“There was so much encouragement on and off of the field. The amount of love and support for students was simply overwhelming,” said Katy Schroeder, who teaches students with mild cognitive impairments in the lower elementary at Century Park Learning Center. “I couldn’t be more proud or grateful for such an amazing opportunity for all who were involved.”
Eric Stiegel, head football coach and special education teacher at Grandville High School, organized the event along with the special education department. Grandville is the 30th high school nationally to host a Victory Day.