The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


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Another great season with East’s 2024 ISO Big Game

On Jan. 31, 2024, the East gym was filled with cheers and applause as the annual ISO Big Game took place.
Also known as the Illinois Special Olympics, ISO has been active for over 20 years in providing students with intellectual disabilities different athletic opportunities. With sports ranging from basketball to bocce ball, students practice skills such as teamwork, perseverance and motivation.

Junior Yair Bautista is ready to catch the ball. Photo by Lauren Voigt.

With the annual Big Game, students and staff gathered to cheer on their ISO team. Complete with performances from Project Dance and the East Dance Team, the 2024 game brought smiles and happiness to the ISO team and their supporters.
“[The game] gives them a sense of belonging, it helps them, our Special Olympic athletes, to feel that they’re a part of this school,” said Head Coach Donna Wisely, who has been coaching the school’s team for over nine years. “It provides them opportunities for athletic endeavors and to become athletes. But then that also builds their social skills so that’s really important.”

Something different from previous years, the ISO team was split into two teams alongside East Varsity Basketball players, with the two combined teams playing against each other. With the team Hot Shot Ravens facing off against the Slam Dunk Sharks, the Hot Shot Ravens won 27-20.

“This year, we chose to play inclusive, or they call it unified,” said Wisely. “We divided all the athletes into two groups so that made it significantly different and we’re really excited about the new format and we’re ready to grow that in the future and really helping all of our students understand what it means to play unified.”

Alongside the new unified tradition, the ISO game continued to make new memories and add to old ones.
When asked how she felt during her first ISO Big Game, freshman Haley Brunet expressed that she felt happy playing basketball and that her favorite part was “throwing the ball.”

Junior Yair Bautista remembers his first ISO Big Game his freshman year, saying, “In my freshman year, I played basketball on the first ISO Big Game so it was exciting.”

Presenting old and new memories, the importance of the ISO game also brings admiration and pride.

When asked about the best part about coaching the team, Wisely said, “Their enthusiasm, everybody sees them smile all the time, that’s how they are, so it’s pretty cool. For any coach, it’s really cool to hear your athletes call you coach. I’ve always learned that that was a sign of respect, so it’s pretty cool to be on the opposite side of that, and when they see me in the hallways, when they see me in the community, they say, ‘That’s my coach!’ and that’s just really fun to hear.”
Ending another season, the 2024 ISO Big Game closed with fun memories and long-lasting connections.

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About the Contributor
Ava Brucal
Ava Brucal, News Editor
Ava is a senior at East and loves tapping into her creative side. She plans to pursue education in the future.

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