This group of over 2,000 students demonstrated their support for a blind basketball player by taking a free ball during the game.
The Zeeland Public Schools in Michigan are where 17-year-old Juliana Hoogland gets her education, she is also a member of the school’s zLinks program, which connects students with one another.
According to Dr. Brandi-Lyn Mendham, the Superintendent of Zeeland Public Schools, the fact that the program participates in the Special Olympics Unified Sports is a “source of pride” for the school system.
“We were moved to action by the kindness and consideration shown to Juliana by her fellow high school classmates during the free throw competition. They fell into an eerie silence so that she could carefully take her time.”
The silence, however, did not last long since Juliana made the ball, which resulted in the audience erupting into cheers. Her mother, Karen Hoogland, expressed their delight in expressing their joy in her achievement.
“Not just because two high schools were watching her,” Hoogland said, “but just to see just to see the support from her peers being so unbelievably quiet so she could hear the tapping, but then the cheers of encouragement and support from the proud student body.”
While everything was going on, Juliana, also known as “Jules,” was overcome with delight after the hit and said, “I didn’t think I’d make it. My goal is to raise awareness about the fact that blind people are more than just that by educating the general public.”
Jules is breaking records for what can be accomplished by blind folks, and she has high expectations that this video will serve as motivation for all of those who are going through challenging times.
The head instructor at zLinks said that for Juliana to get a flawless shot, she had to put in a lot of work—”years’ worth,” to be exact.
Nate VandeGutche shared his thoughts on how the experience of seeing her make the shot in front of 2,500 people moved him deeply.
“We were beyond ourselves with excitement and happiness for her and her family. It was the best possible way to cap off what had been an amazing day for each and every one of us.”