Hemet High Football, ASB, Varsity Cheer, JV Cheer and Song Leaders, and the Bulldog Marching Band along with parents and spectators gave a rousing ovation to the special athletes they saw perform the task of scoring touchdown after touchdown on the field.
Read more about the Super Kids Bowl from local newspaper reporters below.
Idyllwild School Principal Matt Kraemer is making a big change for this year's heartwarming Super Kids Bowl set for Feb. 1 at Hemet High from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
To make the event more manageable for staff, parents and Hemet Unified School District kids from severely handicapped and autism programs, Kraemer will rotate the grade levels that participate each year. Middle school and high school students will be in the Bulldog stadium this year. Elementary students will score touchdowns next year.
Last year, with 220 kids involved, it took too long for all the students to take turns scoring touchdowns. Also, alternating the grade levels that participate will greatly reduce transportation costs.
“The high school students had to wait over two hours before they got to go onto the field,” Kraemer wrote in a note about the change. “That's too long of a wait for special needs students.”
In the Super Kids Bowl, students line up in the running back position with varsity football players. One by one, they are handed footballs and score touchdowns. Cheerleaders cheer. The school band plays for each touchdown.
The kids are excited. It's a morning that can bring tears of joy from spectators.
Kraemer started the Super Kids Bowl for his Little Lake students eight years ago after seeing an ESPN report on a similar event. He expanded to include other schools and more grade levels. He is so dedicated to the day that he continued organizing the Super Kids Bowl when he transferred to Idyllwild.
Kraemer rotates the event between West Valley, Tahquitz and Hemet highs.
He said besides providing an exciting morning for the special needs kids, it makes high school students more aware of their presence on campus. “That's makes the day special,” he said. “They strike up friendships and recognize them on campus. When they see them, they'll have conversations and call them by name.”
Kraemer said he hopes other school districts will copy the Super Kids Bowl. They should.
The eighth annual Super Kids Bowl will take place in the stadium at Hemet High School, starting at 9:15 a.m. Students from the Severely Handicapped Special Education program at the district’s middle and high schools will join Hemet High’s varsity football team, cheerleaders and band on the field, where every student will have their name announced and be given the opportunity to score a touchdown with the team behind them, the band playing and cheerleaders cheering. (Craig Schultz, The Press Enterprise, Hemet City Beat, January 31, 2012)
Idyllwild School Principal Matt Kraemer started the program in the middle of the last decade while principal at Little Lake Elementary. He saw a similar program featured on ESPN and thought it would be a good way to integrate special education students with the mainstream student body.
In its first year, the program had 36 kids. Now, more than 200 take part, and the program has expanded to include severely handicapped and autistic students from throughout the district, who are bused to a different district high school each year. (Kevin Pearson on Twitter: @pe_kevinpearson) www.pe.com article