Victory Day is an opening and dream fulfilling day for students. On this day Grandville High School was filled with pure joy as young people with disabilities got the chance to play football and lead cheers for the large crowd.
Grandville has held Victory Day for the past four years. Victory Day is when football players and cheerleaders are paired up with special needs kids for a change to make touchdowns and cheer on their fellow peers to bring the whole community together.
The day starts out with the football team getting to know the players before they run through the “big bulldog” and down a tunnel of the Grandville Cheerleaders. After the national anthem is played each child and their football player buddy split up to play catch, kick field goals, run tackling drills and last, but not least, score touchdowns!
All of the participants get the chance to run for a touchdown through football players who safely let them plow through and run toward the end zone without actually tackling them. Play-by-play announcements are run over the speakers in the stadium for each child, so they can hear their name and the cheers for them.
Jake Fontaine has been participating in this day for all four years that he has played GHS Football. “It’s a really cool thing we do at Grandville and it’s really important to keep this tradition going.” Jake states, “It’s definitely something I’ll be telling my kids about someday because it’s something I’m really proud of.”
This year Jake was paired up with Ben Popma, a sixth grader at Century Park. Ben looks forward to Victory Day every year. Ben states that his favorite thing about the day is “kicking the ball, catching the ball and making the touchdowns!” Ben comes back every year because he loves it and he made it very clear that he will be back next year.
Victory Day is an amazing day for students, parents and the community. Ben’s and Jake’s goal is to have even more people come out next year to cheer the players and cheerleaders on. “It would be super cool if people had signs for the kids and there was a student section. This would make it an even cooler experience than it already is,” Jake expressed. Victory Day is something every Bulldog Community member should experience.