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Student competes in Special Olympic bowling

Harshita Avirneni and Claire Lawrence

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Senior Michelle Dieudonne recently participated in a Special Olympic competition for bowling on Nov. 5. Dieudonne first started attending these competitions when she was in middle school.

“It was just a house pack of people,” Dieudonne said. “Our team name is Leander Lasers. My first round I got 66 and my second round 99 points. That’s how many points I got in all my rounds.”

Every year, students from all around Austin, including teams from Round Rock and Georgetown schools, gather to compete in all the Special Olympic events. Dieudonne competed in more than one event when she first started.

“Special Olympics is a good thing to do,” Dieudonne said. “You can do bowling, basketball, tennis and track and field. I used to do all of them but after the first year I stopped and did just bowling because I like that the most.”

All bowling competitions are held in small bowling alleys since they don’t have many places to travel for the event. A lot of the bowling alleys are closing down and being turned into other attractions.

“Back in my old house we had a bowling place next to us and I used to go there all the time,” Dieudonne said. “It was like my home. They closed up my hometown bowling place and turned it into something else. Now when I see it it makes my heart break because the bowling place I used to go to as a kid is gone.”

Dieudonne’s team practices in Georgetown every Sunday. Dieudonne said that to her, it is not about winning and that in her mind everyone gets a medal. To her, it is all about getting better.

“I have been doing this for a very long time and I love going,” Dieudonne said. “My favorite part has to be teamwork and leadership. I’m happy to be with some special people from different school and places. It’s really fun.”

Artists like Cody Simpson speak out regularly about the special olympics organization and about how they want to make it a world wide event. To Michelle, this means a lot.

“I’m happy doing the Special Olympics because it gives us a chance to do what I love,” said Dieudonne. “It’s my passion. One day I want to be in the actual Olympics for bowling. I want to be like ‘yes, I made it. I’m an actual bower’. I just want people to know that I can be a good at it like everyone else.”

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Student competes in Special Olympic bowling