March 03, 2015 | Updated: January 29, 2019

By Katy Williams

With our Area 10 Basketball Tournament cancelled due to inclement weather last week and no reschedule planned, we wanted to give a special shout out to our generous hosts of the event for the past 3 years. Our theme for the tournament this year was “We Got This” and Grand Prairie ISD without a doubt had this tournament covered.

Grand Prairie ISD is no stranger to Special Olympics. They support one of the most active Special Olympics school based programs, the Grand Prairie ISD Stars.

For the past 3 years Grand Prairie has hosted our 100+ team tournament and have generously gone above and beyond the call of duty as hosts.  With 8 venue locations and 15 basketball courts reserved for this 2 day event, Grand Prairie does more than just open their doors and let us use their gyms, they rally their staff, campuses, and community to get involved. Pam Fowler, Adaptive PE professional and Special Olympics Liaison at Grand Prairie ISD says,

“Since Grand Prairie ISD was first approached about hosting the Area 10 Special Olympics Basketball Tournament, our Administration and every department of GPISD, teachers, students, groups and organizations and the community as a whole came together to make sure each and every Special Olympics athlete, parent, volunteer and staff member was welcomed with kindness and compassion.”

Multiple departments of Grand Prairie ISD were involved. From planning the logistics, soliciting donations, feeding volunteers, recruiting volunteers, and staffing every facility. As Program Director, I have worked with a variety of communities and facilities and I am blown away by the level of involvement and support provided by Grand Prairie ISD and their community. They truly went above and beyond any expectation we had a hosts and have definitely pushed the bar a little bit higher for the next hosts.  They gave their time so our Special Olympics athletes could have the time of their lives, they supported us not as an expression of charity but of respect, and they spread the word of our cause! 

We also want to give a shout out to the Grand Prairie Police Department. Through the leadership of Chief Dye, Grand Prairie PD’s involvement with Law Enforcement Torch Run has promoted awareness and support for Special Olympics Texas and have served as a catalyze of change in the community. Both GPISD and GPPD are doing great things for Special Olympics Texas!

We look forward to coming back in a few years!

We’d like to recognize those individuals, departments, student groups, and community groups who were involved with this Basketball Tournament:

GPISD FACULTY & STAFF: Dr. Susan Hull, Superintendent, Dr. Linda Ellis, Dr. Vern Alexander, Calvin Harrison, Dr. Jerry Hunkapiller, Teri Wilson, Sean O’Donnell, Troy Mathieu, Becky White, Troy Bryant, Bernie Ponzio, Pamela Fowler, Nicole Escalante, Winifred Bell, Dr. Dorothea Gordon, Rachel Brown 

GPISD DEPARTMENTS: Athletics, Student Services & Safety, Special Education, Transportation, Business & Operations, Teaching & Learning, School Accountability, Technology, Public Engagement & Public Information, Food Services, Energy Management & Facility Scheduling, Maintenance & Operations, Custodial Staff, Grand Prairie Parent Involvement Center. Schools: Lee Elementary, Adams MS, Jackson MS, Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, South Grand Prairie-9, Grand Prairie HS, Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy. 


Groups: Grand Prairie HS JROTC, GPISD VAIL Transition Program, Eisenhower Elementary Kindness & Compassion Club SGPHS-National Honors Society, SGPHS-Girls Basketball Team, Garner Elementary-Drum Core, Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Countless numbers of groups and organizations from within the school district that had signed up to volunteer. 

COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Liberty Tax, Dickey’s Bar-B-Que, Grand Prairie Visitors Information Center, Nothing Bundt Cakes of Arlington, Mike’s Bar-B-Que, CiCi’s Pizza-Brenda Urquiza-General Manager, Dominoes Pizza-Victor Oliveira-Manager, Grand Prairie Outlet Malls, Starbucks Coffee, City of Grand Prairie Parks and Recreation. 

Most Recent Articles

Shine the Light: Chance Graves, Allen PD

While dealing with people on a daily basis, Chance said he, “tries to see people as people and treat everyone as a person and not their physical appearance …. Treating others the way I would want to be treated. How would I want my wife, father, or sons to be treated? Being upfront and honest takes a lot of the variables out.” Chance said

...Read more

Dylan's Story

Coach Allen sets a high bar for Dylan through attainable goals and encouragement and is always there to give him a high five and cheer him on.

...Read more

Shine the Light: Michelle Walter, Travis County Constable Precinct 5

“If I could give our athletes encouragement, I’d say, keep training and stay positive. We are going to get through this. Stay at it and stay healthy. We are looking forward to when we can have events again. I know so many athletes now, if I miss someone I’d be in trouble. I miss everyone: athletes, officers, coaches, and staff who help coordinate. I’ve been keeping up with some athletes online, it is good to still be able to interact with them virtually", said Senior Deputy Michelle Walter.

...Read more

Shine the Light: Terry Qualls, McKinney PD

Officer Terry Qualls started his journey with SOTX 27 years ago with his daughter, Alex. Terry has coached soccer, softball, basketball, and track, and field.

...Read more