Marion, OH Lodge News

District No. 6840


MARION, OH (December 17, 2004) – Physical Education teachers in the Marion City School system have been conducting free-throw shooting contests over the past month, preparing to send the winners of their second through eighth grade classes to compete in the annual Elks Hoop Shoot contest. But that presented a problem to the 20 plus special students in those classes that have physical and mental disabilities. These “Multiple Disabled” students wanted to participate, too.

That’s when Lori McGraw, teacher assistant of adapted physical, took action. Together with her husband, Dick, a member of the Marion Elks Lodge 32, they asked the Lodge if it would consider conducting a special Hoop Shoot for multiple disabled students.

“We thought it was a terrific idea,” said Garrison “Muggs” McGinnis, Past Exalted Ruler of the local Elks, who then proceeded to put the program details together. The Lodge purchased special certificates and medals to reward all participants, and sent representatives to host the special Hoop Shoot in the gymnasiums of two Marion area elementary schools, James Garfield and Benjamin Harrison Elementarys.

“Our older multiple disabled kids get to participate in the Special Olympics, but there aren’t as many opportunities available to the younger kids,” said Roxanne Sullivan, adapted physical education teacher for the Marion City Schools. “These kids just want to be like everyone else, and this special Elks Hoop Shoot became their way of sharing how far they have come.”

About 20 multiple disabled students participated in the special event at both elementary schools, using basketball hoops from three feet high to regulation size. “And it wasn’t a competition,” noted McGraw. “Everybody won. These kids love to show their talent without being in a competitive environment. Just participating was a huge victory.”

Was the special Hoop Shoot a success? “Oh, you bet,” said Sullivan. “You could see it in their faces. One young person in our class rarely ever smiles. He smiled today – and gave us a big hug. What better way is there to measure success?”

Marion Elks members McGinnis, Gene Rosebrough and Vance Dutton helped McGraw and Sullivan organize and run the special Hoop Shoot for the Marion City School’s Multiple Disabled Program. McGinnis summed it all up like this: “Three million youngsters, ages 8 through 13, participated in the Elks Hoop Shoot last year. But none of them enjoyed the experience better than these 20 kids. This is what Elkdom is all about.”

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