Idalou Middle School Students fundraised $900 during their end-of-the year activities and decided this year that the funds should be donated to Special Olympics of the South Plains. IMS Principal Josh Damron explained that the students not only believe Special Olympics is a valuable community organization, they also chose it to honor the life of a student in their district who was murdered in February, 18-year-old Holli Jeffcoat.
“We want to recognize her and her life with doing this, we actually have some of her relatives that go to school here in the middle school,” Damron said. “It’s really cool and [the students] knew this was about Holli as much as it’s about the Special Olympics. It’s just something that we wanted to do, we wanted to recognize her through this entire program and having fun at something that was very very lighthearted.”
With the tragic details surrounding Holli’s death, Damron explained that the fundraising was a chance to celebrate Holli’s life and an organization she loved. Holli was a special needs student who was a member of Idalou ISD though she attended a separate program in Lorenzo.
“Unfortunately, I never got to meet Holli, but I do know she competed in Special Olympics for over 7 years, she loved competing and playing in basketball and track and field,” explained Chris Stark who is on the Fundraising committee for Special Olympics of the South Plains. Stark attended the events at Idalou Middle School and accepted a the check from IMS on behalf of Special Olympics Thursday.
It was the last day of class before summer for IMS students who banded together for a “battle of the classes”, vying for bragging rights for their graduating classes. They played tug-of-war, dodge ball, and held a “human billboard contest’ on the football field. Behind all the competitive spirit during the day’s events was a respect for Special Olympics and the athletes who participate.
The last portion of the Special Olympics motto “let me be brave” was featured on the shirts all the students wore; several grades even spelled out “Brave” and “#Be Brave” by arranging themselves on the football field. That motto was also featured on the purple bracelets Idalou ISD has been selling to fundraise for Special Olympics, also in honor of Holli.
Stark said he was blown away by the student’s enthusiasm and competitive spirit. It seems fitting that these Idalou students were competing to help other athletes enjoy the competitions Holli loved being part of.
Stark believes this fundraiser accomplished several goals: “to keep [Holli’s] memory alive, to raise awareness about Holli, to raise awareness about Special Olympics. What a better way to memorialize Holli than to provide funds for other athletes to compete in Special Olympics?”
Stark explained that the students’ donations will go a long way, $150 sponsors one Special Olympics athlete for a year.
Damron added that the class of 2020 won the “battle of the classes,” and grew from the experience.
“As a community of Idalou Middle School students, we want our older kids to take leadership and that’s what they did today” he said.
No charges have been filed in Holli Jeffcoat’s murder.