High school kids aren’t known for showing their support through silence. But for a basketball player, over 2,000 students standing completely still was the ultimate sign of respect.
Juliana Hoogland, 17, is a student at Zeeland Public Schools in Zeeland, Michigan. She is blind and a basketball player. The school’s zLinks program – a peer-to-peer program that competes in Special Olympics Unified Sports is a “point of pride” for the school district, said Dr. Brandi-Lyn Mendham, Superintendent of Zeeland Public Schools.
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Last week, as Juliana prepared to take a free kick, the crowd of 2,500 fell completely silent, so she could hear where the net was tapping.
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She sank that shot. And the crowd went wild.
Karen Hoogland, Juliana’s mother, told FOX News she was proud her daughter took the photo. “Not just because two high schools were watching her,” Hoogland said, “but just to see the support of her peers being so extremely and respectfully quiet so she could hear the pats, but then the cheers of encouragement and support. of the proud student body.”
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Juliana – or “Jules” to her friends and family – was also proud.
“I didn’t think I would make it,” she told Fox News. My hope is to be able to educate people that blind people are more than just blind.”
Jules wants to break the stereotype that blind people can’t do what sighted people can.
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“I hope this video inspires others to keep trying, no matter what their challenges are,” she said.
The head teacher at zLinks told Fox News Digital that Juliana worked for “years” to get the feel for this plan.
“It was so emotional to see her hit that shot again in front of 2,500 people,” said Nate VandeGutche. “We couldn’t have been more excited for her and her family. It capped off what was a memorable day for all of us.”
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