Special Olympians in Lamar Middle School in South Irving are celebrating a big win. The school placed first in the Big Lots Lots2Give nationwide video contest, which awarded them with a grand prize of $10,000. Special education life skills teacher Michelle Holman created and entered the minute-and-a-half video, which explains the need for financial support in order to keep her students engaged in future Special Olympic events.

“This means so much for us,” she said. “It means years and years of involvement in Special Olympics and self-esteem growth for my kids and parent involvement. It means so much for our community. It changes everything.” This year marks her ninth year teaching special needs students at Lamar. The school principal, Joe Moreno, said he hopes his school can be a light within the community.

“The attention that it brings to the school in a very positive way often has a tendency to spread through the neighborhood,” he said. The winning video has also encouraged parents who say that seeing their children win such a coveted award is priceless. “You know, just all of those things that I didn’t think were necessarily possible, starting with confidence and ending with seeing your child, albeit with this disability, be able to take a stage and command it and walk away feeling great,” said Patty Garza, parent of student Zeta Martinez.

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